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As a man I can never completely know what it is like to be pregnant or give birth. As a man I can only watch a woman's stomach grow until I watch her give birth to a new life. As a man I can be a father, nurturing and protecting a child, but I will never know what it is like to actually bring another human being into this world.

And as a man I can only know what it is like to sit in the waiting room of an abortion clinic.

Having done just that I can say that sitting there, waiting, wondering if she is all right, is a living hell.  What is a guy to do? Thumbing through the magazines, trying not to make eye contact with those around you, thinking about how this happened, why it happened, and trying to find the strength to help her through this.

What is going on behind those doors? No, I don't mean the procedure itself, but what she is feeling, how is this affecting her. Is she ok? Will she ever speak to me again? Why us, why now?

I have not written about abortion before because it still stings deep inside. I still remember the image of my wife lying there in the recovery room crying, surrounded by women crying alone. No other man came into the room that day, at least not while we were there. I remember thinking, "Who are these women, and why are they all alone right now?"

What else could I do? What else could I have done to prevent this? Why is it she has to go through this alone? Men don't carry the stigma of having an abortion; I don't see statistics on how many men have sat there in that waiting room feeling like I did, a failure.

You see, no matter how much men try to pretend otherwise, the vast majority of the time we are the ones who worked so hard to get them in bed. We are the ones who think of nothing else but sex, and it is our biology that impregnates theirs.

I remember the day she told me she was pregnant. No, when we were pregnant, because it takes two people to make life. Unfortunately most men seem to forget that. I can still remember how I felt, thinking about all my friends that had been right where I was at that moment.

How many of them stayed by their woman? How many said "so what" and walked away?

We men seem to forget a lot of things when we get horny. Rarely does pregnancy come into mind, unless it's how to prevent one, and even that isn't as important as it should be at that moment. No, we are more concerned with how it will feel to have an orgasm. The creation of life part rarely is given any real concern.

But for a woman, every single time could be that time.

Why don't men think about this more? Because we are not the ones held responsible in the end. It is too easy for men to simply walk away. After all, she was just a warm body, a receptacle, and any woman would have done.

The sad reality is that this is a women's issue because men refuse to step up and take responsibility for their actions. She didn't get pregnant on her own, and she shouldn't have to deal with the ramifications alone.  

Do I think abortion should be legal? Yes, but only because it has to be. There is no other way around the subject. Women cannot walk away from being pregnant, and someone has to raise the child or decide not to have it at all.

There are other parts of this conversation that I think most people are uncomfortable talking about that I want to mention here.

First of all, since it does take two people to get a woman pregnant, does the man have any say in what happens? What if the pregnancy is an accident, but the man wants to keep the child if the woman doesn't? Sure she has to carry the child to term, but does the father have any rights? After all, it is his child as well.

Secondly, why is it that the religiously inclined seem so intent on protecting the fetus, but could care less about the child once it is born? And why don't I see them protesting against fertility clinics and erection drugs? I mean if they are all about God's will, aren't these things ways of playing God too?

Also, how did we reach this point at all? Birth is the only way into this world. There is no other way to get here. Why don't we celebrate it more? Is it because there are too many people around and now we take it for granted? Seriously, I don't get it. We as humans have to have babies in order to keep going as a species, yet the whole discussion seems twisted. Many women see having a child as an impediment to having a career. How fucked up are we that a woman has to choose between work and children? What, only men can work and only women can stay home?

Why aren't we celebrating birth, working harder to prevent unwanted pregnancies and helping those with children who need help? I blame male dominated father figure cult worship for a big part of that, but I think there is more to it.

The fact that we even need to talk about these things shows me that we humans are still very much in the dark about our humanity. Women should not have to "fear" getting pregnant. This is a fucking travesty, and until we change our whole image of pregnancy, life and societal roles, we will never find answers to all the questions I have put here.

All that aside, there is also the feelings that come after an abortion. I didn't want a child at the time anymore than she did, but now, in my thirties and clipped, I do. Did I miss the chance to have a child? Will I regret that decision later in life? I kind of do now sometimes. But what's done is done. Once it's over there is no turning back. And the feelings I have will never change that. We did what we felt was the best thing to do given the circumstances. I feel blessed in that I was strong for her and there when she needed me most, but I still feel like I failed her, myself, and our unborn child.


update after reading through all the comments:

Let me begin by saying that I am deeply humbled by the amount of comments this post has generated.

I went to sleep last night thinking about stormcoming’s post and woke up with this. I honestly figured it would slide off into recent diary oblivion with a couple of comments and maybe the infamous flame war that is too common here.

I am not sure how to respond to all of you. First, thank you to all of you who found this a place to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences.

As to all of my offended brothers out there I am sorry to have painted us with such a broad brush. But in the end I give us little love, because from my own experiences the good guys are the minority. Let me say that again, from my own experiences.

This post was not a cry for sympathy. I don’t think I have read any posts like this, and I felt maybe I should share what I went through. Does that emasculate me? I think not. It empowers me; it helps me heal.

This is a conversation women and men need to have, especially those in relationships. I went camping with friends while she was at home taking a pregnancy test. It was on that trip that I knew it was time to tell her how I felt. I got home and she came over. We both had something really important to say. I was so excited she let me go first. I told her I loved her. I still see the tears in her eyes from what I thought was joy, but were a mix of joy, fear and sadness. Then she said, “I love you too, I’m pregnant.” What it must have been like for her, wondering for that moment what kind of man I would turn out to be, if I would stay or go. How could she know? We had been careful, used birth control, but in the end what mattered was that we had to make a decision. I am glad that what I was so in a hurry to tell her and wouldn’t let her speak was that I loved her and not something lame. I think I said something stupid like “Ok” and then took a really long drag off my cigarette. We sat for a minute, and then we started talking. In the end we decided on an abortion, actually, she mentioned it and I remember feeling kind of relieved she brought it up first. She asked if I still loved her and I said yes. That was the moment of commitment for me. We were going to do this together. And we did.

I understand that this is an emotional issue for many people to discuss. But it is as much a part of reality as war and taxes. We shouldn’t have so many wars or pay so much taxes either, but at least we talk about those issues in public.

Originally posted to just another vet on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:06 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Quite the diary. (4.00)
    Recommend.

    "If you don't get this female mutt out of here I'll rip her to shreds." Sheila Devore

    by Miss Devore on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:10:54 AM PDT

    •  thank you (4.00)
      it is a subject i have avoided for too long.

      Have you told a veteran thank you today?

      by just another vet on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:13:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  consider that your tip jar (4.00)
        thanks for posting this. i'm really glad you decided to pipe up, as i've been asking you to do this for a while.

        and after last night's amazing thread about autonomy, i know there were some calls for men to step up and tell their stories. you did just that, and i hope people get to read this before it scrolls into oblivion.

        oh, and of course you are in NO WAY a failure. you stood strong and did everything i needed you to do. i don't think i'll ever be able to truly repay you for that. i hope someday i can make it up to you.

        "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

        by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:16:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i appreciate the tips, but... (4.00)
          ...i'd rather yall hit the recommend button. it would be nice to see a man's perspective get a bit more attention considering posts like this are pretty rare.

          "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

          by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:58:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I recommended you + a 4 (4.00)
            Great diary. It is interesting to read a male perspective and thank you for sharing. I'm sorry you feel badly but you did what was best at the time. Don't knock yourself!

            I got to that great diary on autonomy late, over 500 comments. But here is what I posted, why do we focus on  creating erectile dysfunction drugs but not male birth control? Sex is a 2-way street and both people need to be responsible. Condoms are not failsafe.

            •  why not male birth control? (4.00)
              Honestly? Because until men get pregnant, I am not going to trust a man when he tells me he's "on the pill".
              •  Honestly... (4.00)
                ... why would you have unprotected sex with a guy you didn't trust enough to tell you the truth about that sort of thing?  

                It scares the hell out of me when something goes wrong condom-wise.  If there were a pill on the market for men, I would be on it.  I'd still use condoms, though, just like I still use condoms even when my partner is on the pill.  

                Let's have fewer blanket statements about the sexes; I don't doubt that there are men out there you can't trust, but that doesn't mean I don't feel insulted when people say all men are assholes.  

                •  Re:... why would you have unprotected sex (4.00)
                  Well - I wouldn't. Actually, I am happily married now, and my husband has had a vasectomy. I was thinking back to the days when I was carefree and - yes, I'll admit - kinda stupid. I remember my girlfriends and I howling with laughter when we heard about the male pill. Believe me when I tell you that we had guys telling us anything - up to and including proposals of marriage - just to have their way with us. Lying about BC would be the least of it.

                  And why would I have (protected or otherwise) sex with someone I didn't trust? Well - I was young, as I said - kinda stupid. I was having a good time, sowing wild oats - ya know? Whatta ya want? I wasn't always an angel.

                  And I do truly apologize to anyone who thinks I was talking about all men. I did not mean it that way at all. I should have chosen my words better. You are right - my husband is WAY more responsible about a lot of things than I am.

                  •  Apology accepted :) (none)
                    I guess what it boils down is education - to avoid having young and stupid people, we have to turn them into young and smart people.  

                    I'd actually find it kind of hilarious if male BC ended up being unpopular because nobody believed the guys who were taking it... maybe if it came in a patch?  Something bright green, labeled "yo, I be sterile"?

              •  Touche! (4.00)
                Ah, yes, but why should I have to trust a woman when she says she's on birth control?

                I would like to have control over whether I reproduce or not.  Right now all I have is a condom, so I stick with abstinence.  Sucks to be me, but I'm more responsible than most men, I guess.

                Culture is no excuse

                by Tlacolotl on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:21:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's absurd (none)
                  Obviously, the consequences for men are vastly different than the consequences for women.  If you lie about the pill, you can have sex, dump her, and never see her again.   If a woman lies, she may be pregnant and have to face a multitude of desicions therein.  

                  I just reread your comment.  You stick with abstinence.  Good for you, I guess.  I don't really see abstinence as a method of birth control persay, more a lifestyle than anything else.  

                  I've spoken with my girlfriend about a male pill.  She dismisses it right away.  Those facing the most dire consequences (women, in this situation), are much more likely to remember to take the pill.  Men, like me, have proven themselves to be too unreliable to even consider the possibility of a male birth control pill.

                  •  Blanket statements (none)
                    like this are just unhelpful in this sort of discussion. I know guys who would probably be more reliable taking their pill than their girlfriends. Heck, I need to check that my wife has taken hers every morning, because she forgets. What a male pill will do is allow the versatility that couples need to make that sort of decision depending on the reliability of the individual, and that's always going to vary.
                    If you don't know someone well enough to be able to know how reliable they'll be?.. condoms.
                    •  Blanket statements are all we have (none)
                      But I think it comes to common sense, doesn't it?  Women bear vast majority of reprecussions of an accidental pregnancy.  Men don't.  Therefore, can one extrapolate that women are more likely to take their pill?  I think so.  

                      There are always exceptions to every rule, or generalization or blanket statement.  However, I don't think it's too much of a stretch to think that women, because of the consequences of pregnancy, would be more mindful of taking BCP than would men.  

                    •  The Pill (4.00)
                      Interestingly enough, the reason the pill was developed in the first place was so for that very reason.  Prior to the pill, most couples relied on the "pull-out" method, which put all the burden on the male.  Margaret Sanger felt that men could not be trusted, and became obsessed with creating a pill that would leave the decision entirely in the woman's hands.

                      "The truth is never pure and rarely simple"--Oscar Wilde

                      by VirginiaBelle on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:58:38 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Then I ask you . . . (none)
                    How can I ensure that I do not have children, other than trusting that my partner is on birth control?  Certainly condoms are not effective enough.  I wan to have the power over whether or not I procreate, because if I impregnate a woman, I am going to become a fater with life-long responsibilities.

                    I certainly don't give a shit what other men do; if my partner has a baby, I have a baby.  Why should this not be under my control?  Do you want me to watch her take her birth control pills?  Or should women alone have the power over whether their partners are stuck with life-long commitments?

                    Don't assume just because somewhere between 1% and 99% of the male population acts a certain way that this has anything to do with moi.  It is unclear to me how a father cannot accept that he has children, any more than a woman can; after all, the woman is no more stuck with a child for life, in theory, than a man, as she can get rid of it immediately after birth if she feels like it.  If a woman feels accepts her maternal obligations, it's her choice, just as a man who refuses his paternity obligations has made his own choice.  Why can't I make mine?

                    Culture is no excuse

                    by Tlacolotl on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:20:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i remember at a place i once worked.... (none)
                      a girl's husband would bring her bc pill to work to make sure she took it if she forgot!  i was like... ooohhhhhhhhhhhhkkkkkkk!!!  that was really wierd!

                      i tried taking bc pills after my daughter...  and i always forgot to take them.  i would still insist on other methods... i would never trust it.  i don't think i would trust condoms either.  i still make my bf pull out.  

                  •  why would women lie about the pill? (none)
                    And I say this as a woman.  Because some women are needy creatures, who feel they have to have a child to be complete.  Because they want to trap a man in a relationship.  Because like men, our desire for pleasure can override our good sense.  There are many reasons why women would lie.  
                  •  you know there are women out there... (none)
                    who would lie about being on bc because they want to get pregnant...  just like there are men out there who would lie about things.  i personally think it is not a good idea to have sex with someone you don't know enough or trust enough...  but it is possible.  

                    oh, and there are consequences for men.  not the same as women, obviously, but there is such a thing as child support.  it might be hard to collect, and not hard for a guy to avoid... but it does exist.

                    •  And that's all I'm saying. (none)
                      Consequences exist for both parties.  But the woman shoulders more of them.  Therefore she has more incentive (if she wants to avoid pregnancy) to take the pill more so than the man.  

                      There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but doesn't what I just wrote make sense?  

                      •  i understand what you are saying. (none)
                        and it makes sense.  i was just saying that there are women out there who would trick a guy because she ewant's to get pregnant... for whatever reason.  it is more on her though, because she is the one that ends up pregnant or not pregnant.
                •  I stick to abstinance too... (4.00)
                  because the idea of having sex with me is too horrifying for any woman to consider :-)
                  •  I've had abstinence thrust upon me. (n/t) (4.00)

                    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

                    by delver rootnose on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 04:24:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i'll tell you something. (none)
                      i was forbidden to get my ears pierced as a kid.  my dad threatened to kick me out if i got my ears pierced.  guess what....  i have two holes in each ear right now!  boy, good thing he never forbade me to have sex!  perhaps i thank god that was something no one discussed.  otherwise i might have had a very different life.
              •  otoh... (none)
                ...if i were a guy, i wouldn't trust a woman who said she was on the pill.

                There are many who lust for the simple answers of doctrine or decree. They are on the left and right. They are terrorists of the mind. -- A. Bartlett Giamatti

                by FemiNazi on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 04:32:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Casual Sex (none)
                  I guess to boil it down - if you are going to have casual (heterosexual) sex (hey - don't knock it!), you should just ACT AS IF your partner du jour is less than truthful - you know? Why take the chance? You do whatever will prevent YOU from becoming a parent, despite whatever it is THEY say they have already done.
            •  This is what I told both of my sons (4.00)
              Birth control is YOUR responsibility NOT the woman's.  She can not get pregnant unless sperm comes from your body into hers. PERIOD!

              So far, my 23 year old has listened well. In fact, he thanked me for giving him the woman's perspective.

              The Christian Right is neither Witness Every Day

              by TXsharon on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:47:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Though my sons are only 4 and 1 (none)
                I plan on telling them exactly that; wonderful advice. In fact, I'll say "TXsharon told me to tell you that."

                The public wants what the public gets, but I don't get what this society wants -- Paul Weller

                by jamfan on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:19:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Ha ha... (none)
                That reminds me of my more difficult days in high school.  I asked a girl I barely knew to go with me, definitely knowing sex was completely beyond the realm of possibilities.  After picking up my tux, my mother turned to me and said "Keep it wrapped!"  That was the end of our birth control conversation.  What was more effective in escaping pregnancy for me was acne.  

                But that's puberty.

              •  *sigh* (4.00)
                EVERYONE in my family told my now-22 year old nephew that when he was growing up (i'm not joking). he's a bright kid and had such a future ahead of him.

                when he was a senior in high school (enrolled in the international baccalaureate program, even) he fell for a girl who was 16. i'm appalled at my self, a radical shi'ite feminist, for thoughts that she got her "hooks" into him because i know he was pretty much PW'ed.

                to make a long, sordid story short, they got pregnant. the relationship was over by the time the baby came. my nephew now is working a crappy job instead of going to college so he can pay child support.

                interestingly, witnessing all of this has been a wake-up call for his 18 year old male cousin. or at least we're hoping and praying so...

                There are many who lust for the simple answers of doctrine or decree. They are on the left and right. They are terrorists of the mind. -- A. Bartlett Giamatti

                by FemiNazi on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 04:41:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  don't be appalled (none)
                  at least not for the way you feel about her.  shitty people come in both sexes, and stupidity does not discriminate.

                  sorry to hear about your nephew. i hope that everything works out in the long run.

                  "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

                  by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 04:47:40 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  eh... (none)
                    ...all the sex he's had has made him stupider. he ended up marrying another girl this spring who has two kids (and she's all of 20 years old). their dad thinks his child support payments are just too much to deal with so he's willing to relinquish his parental rights. my nephew seems to have adjusted to daddyhood so well, he's offered to adopt the two kids. the family freaked at that news. We demanded to know why he had no qualms about saddling himself with even more child support debt if this relationship doesn't work out. he thinks we're hoping the marriage doesn't work out.

                    meanwhile, my grandnewphew's mom hooked up with another guy and is having a kid with him.

                    i'm seething inside because i don't get to see my grandnephew but once or twice a year -- his parents fight all the damn time and the kid is the weapon.

                    ugh. it's just horrible....

                    There are many who lust for the simple answers of doctrine or decree. They are on the left and right. They are terrorists of the mind. -- A. Bartlett Giamatti

                    by FemiNazi on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 05:04:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I Admit (4.00)
                That telling a man that birth control is only his responsibility is something I could never tell my son.  It's dishonest.

                But what I HAVE told my son since he was practically in diapers is something like this:  

                "If you get someone pregnant, I don't want to hear shit about what she told you, what she promised, how it happened, what type of birth control she supposedly was on, and especially not a damned thing about how you just "forgot" to use birth control or how it was "just a mistake."  It wasn't a "mistake" unless it was your condom and it broke despite being handled like a piece of porcelain china.  It was you screwing up."  

                "So, since it's completely her call what happens if she's pregnant, you're either going to be a daddy if she wants it or not one if she doesn't. But either way you're pretty much out of the decision loop unless she decides you're worth bringing into it.  She might, she might not.  

                "So, if it turns out that you are going to be a daddy, all I want to hear is where you're planning on working, how you're planning to manage your schooling when you're not working, and how you're planning to allocate your time and your money so that you can raise your child, since it's not going to raise itself and I'm not raising it for you.  

                "If you don't want to take any risk of being a father, nature pretty much gives you only one choice - don't fuck.  Especially since no matter how much hype you see/read/hear, no matter how much you think you need it - you don't.  You will not drop dead tomorrow if you have to have  a hot date with your hand instead of that honey down the street.  You not only need it, you don't want it until you're absolutely, positively sure that you are able to handle every risk that goes with it - including the risk of fatherhood.   After all, if you're man enough to fuck, you're man enough to father.  If you're not 100% certain about that fatherhood thing, then my advice to you is to zip it up and keep it up until you are.  Because there is presently absolutely, positively, no such thing as 100% effective birth control, although if you absolutely positively can't say no to yourself, you'd better not even THINK about it unless you're latexed from here to Missouri.

                (Yes, this reflects my personal morality.  Yes my daughters have each received an equally deadly serious, female version of this lecture.)

                My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

                by shanikka on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:11:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Wow... (none)
                  That's a very good, very responsible talk.  I wish your kids the best (and I'm sure they'll turn out just fine with a mother(?) like yourself).  
                •  Dishonest? Dang! That's a harsh critique! (none)
                  I think what I told my son and what you told yours is basically the same.  I posted from work so I couldn't/didn't go into the long version as to why I told him it was his responsibility, but it was basically the same conversation.

                  At any rate, what I told my sons was/is NOT dishonest. If you want to prevent pregnancy, don't leave the responsibility up to another person. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with you!

                  The Christian Right is neither Witness Every Day

                  by TXsharon on Wed Jun 15, 2005 at 08:26:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  that's the ironic thing about pregnancy... (none)
                society always blames the woman... but a woman can't get pregnant without the sperm.  just like women don't control what the sex is... that is also determined by the male.  but i really like that the diarist says that it takes two to get pregnant.  a lot of guys out there don't see it that way.  frankly, in the case of those guys, i think its an easy out if they can blame the woman.  we are a wiley bunch, us women.
          •  Great diary... (4.00)
            and not a whimper--that is what I respect.  And yeah it is sad women "fear" pregnancy but for millenia it has been dangerous (medically) and risky.  Pregnant women are vulnerable and protecting and caring for young children keeps them vulnerable.

            When civilisation chooses to understand ancient human nature and then chooses to act in new ways (overcoming human nature) all minority people will be less afraid.  Human nature makes us all vulnerable to power and the social network unfolding therefrom (strong males, dependant females, fear of the other)--you get my point.

            Also, I can say I have had much empathy for men in the situation of having to accept abortion.  It is must be uncomfortable for the sex used to being in control...

      •  that was a TYPO!! (4.00)
        I meant to give you a 4, Vet!  Not a 3!  Typo!  Typo!!!!!

        I'm so sorry!

        "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

        by escapee on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:59:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm so glad you were ready to write about this. (4.00)
        Your perspective is valuable here.

        Well, Mark, the President has worked to elevate the discourse in this town.
        -- Scott McClellan 5/17/2005

        by coloradobl on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:18:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent diary (4.00)
        Thank you for saying so eloquently much of my own thoughts on the subject.

        All the screaming for and against, in other words, the entire current approach to the discussion of abortion, stops us as a society from dealing with the real problems and finding real solutions. Abortion should be safe, legal and rare. And the way to make it rare is to solve the societal problems we have that place so many women alone in that situation where they have to make that choice.

        You are a good man for being there every step of the way with her. The observation that you were the only man there is an important one. Men's failure to think and act responsibly is a huge part of the problem.

        "We have the power. Sorry if you don't like the fact that we've decided to use it." Posted by Jeremey*in*MS at February 3, 2005 01:59 PM

        by Andrew C White on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:24:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My perspective too (4.00)
        Once again I felt my mind expand as I read the second great abortion diary of this week. Having the words to express my instincts gives me a greater understanding and a greater ability to speak.

        Thank you.  I've bookmarked both diaries for future reference.

  •  men (3.52)

    "Men don't carry the stigma of having an abortion; I don't see statistics on how many men have sat there in that waiting room feeling like I did, a failure."

    thats b/c most men arent there w/women in this circumstance...its mostly a woman's problem. and it will always be that way.

    which is why i hesitate to give to much credence to how men feel on this issue. they're usually not involved.

    you're different. its go you supported your girlfriend/wife. the diary is useful to see what your perspective, just for informational purposes..for personal purpose, whether you think its a mistake or not, you have to stop beating yourself up on the issue. we all make some choices we regret...if you dwell on it, you allow it to help destroy what good stuff you could be doing..

    end of preach..

    "You will determine whether rage or reason guides the United States in the struggle to come. You will choose whether we are known for revenge or compassion. Yo

    by AmericanHope on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:16:28 AM PDT

    •  I see bam101 has hit you too (none)
      he is doing his ususual job of passing out 1s to women with opinions.

      And a new poster, someone without a single post on dkos, has also been passing out the 1s.  

      Some people just hate women with strong opinions.

      Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

      by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:43:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As another man ... (4.00)
      who has been in the room, this is an incredibly difficult issue for us to speak up on and we get slammed when doing so ...

      This is, by the way, one of several incredibly thoughtful -- and to me, valuable -- diaries today that generated valuable content ...

      By the way, "in the waiting room" for me had a different aspect ... have been there three times -- once with a friend who had been raped who I pulled up from the floor after the rape (feeling guilty to this day that I was thirty minutes late arriving at her apartment for our study date -- missed catching the guy by seconds ...); another with a friend regretting (to this day) her drunk party dalliance (unsure who the 'father' was); and third with a woman encountered when I was part of a clinic protection team who -- for whatever reason -- seemed to click onto me as a supportive person.  In all three cases, I was the only male ... and, while my "sperm" wasn't a player for any of the events of those three days, I sat there, averting eyes and mainly feeling guilty (by association, I guess) ...

      And, yes, this is "mostly a woman's thing" ... but how to understand the line between "mostly" and "entirely"?

      •  Thank you (none)
        For all of us who didn't have someone to trust to ask to come with us. Thank you for having the guts to sit there and worry about us. Thank you, very much.
        I was a teenager when I had an abortion, and my girlfriend went with me, bless her. I was afraid to tell my boyfriend, and was lucky to have a caring, supportive circle of, well, girls, to support me.

        Off thread and on guys in the waiting room; here in DC in the eighties, there were a number of guys in the waiting room at Planned Parenthood. Yes, they were nervous, but, bless 'em, they showed.

        Do not be intimidated by those who know the value of everything, but the cost of nothing.

        by duckyindc on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:24:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's a pretty harsh attitude towards men. (4.00)
      i hesitate to give to much credence to how men feel on this issue

      Men vote. You should care. Like it or not men do have a say in the abortion issue.

      I personally feel, even if I want a child, it's not my right to force my girlfriend/wife to carry the child to term. I feel it's always the woman's choice. I'll fight with all I have to ensure women have that choice.

      Do you really want to discount my opinion?

    •  aw, jeez (none)
      thats b/c most men arent there w/women in this circumstance...

      most men? they're not there because most of them hadn't impregnated a woman who winds up seeking an abortion ...

      i think it's a damned shame that most men who do are not more supportive of the woman who, under duress of unwanted pregnancy, seeks a medical procedure ...

      AH, you'll find that folks who (imo) unfairly rate your post will probably not do it if you stop blanketing us with a "men ... ugh" attitude ... we're no more monolithic in our attitudes, beliefs, and values than the "XX" bunch ... please lose the "broad brush" language

  •  They let you in the recovery room? (3.85)
    I would take that as a serious breach of my right to privacy if I were a woman.
    Having been in the recovery room as a counselor, I can say that your experience of women crying is very unusual.  Though there are always one or two women who cry, most are numb and when they stop feeling numb they feel relieved.

    Good diary and I recommended it.  I commend you for being there for your spouse.  

    To answer one question.... no, men have no say.  Just as you said only women carry babies.  So they can not be forced to serve as incubators no matter how sincerely a man might want that fetus to become his child.  I know it seems unfair, but imagine the alternative.

    Good diary.

    Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:17:11 AM PDT

    •  In the recovery room? (4.00)
      My first husband was with me from signing in, through the procedure itself, to the recovery room -- which had its fair share of men sitting with women.

      It never occurred to me that anyone would feel their privacy invaded inthe recovery room. I just thought it was absolutely appropriate. I mean, it's not like the men there were checking out who ELSE just had an abortion. They were there for their partners -- or their friends, as the case might have been.

      Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

      by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:26:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is it just because it's an abortion? (none)
        I mean, people are often in the recovery room for other surgical procedures.  I filmed a documentary about a boy getting facial reconstructive surgery, and I was allowed in there with the camera, as was the mother.
        •  maybe (4.00)
          being in recovery was truly strange. i needed JAV and he was there, but every other woman was alone. i'm not sure if they came alone or if they just didn't ask for their partners, but they were alone. and they were mostly crying. it was so sad that i cried a bit for them, too, because even in that moment of my own pain i still empathised with them. i think at the end one man came in to be with his wife, but that's it.

          i would imagine that some places probably put restrictions on stuff like that. but the planned parenthood clinic i was at was very very kind to me and all the other women. they were so supportive, doing their best to help us through it. i'm very grateful for the kindness of the staff - it really helped. they basically were like "whatever makes you comfortable, we will do our best to accomodate". that included me having my boyfriend in recovery. i would hope that other women would have that option as well.

          maryscott's experience was unique, though. i've never heard of a man being in the operation room before. i don't know if that practise is discouraged now or what.  for me personally, i would not have wanted him there for that particular part.

          "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

          by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:16:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  What if one of the men (4.00)
        was someone you worked with or went to church with?  

        Maybe you didn't mind, but what if your husband ran into the wife of a good friend or your neighbor's daughter.

        I don't think this is a good practice.  It is one thing to see someone in the waiting room, they could be going in for a pap smear or a check up for the pill.  But once in the recovery room, it is obvious why you were there.  I still think it is an invasion of privacy and I am sorry to hear that clinics are doing this.

        Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

        by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:16:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My therapist said (none)
        that men should be required to observe the entire procedure!  That might make them more willing to behave more responsibly

        The Christian Right is neither Witness Every Day

        by TXsharon on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:50:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  With all due respect. (4.00)
        After my experience, the last thing I wanted to see in the recovery room was a man's face.  But, that's just my experience.
        •  nobody here... (none)
          wants to force that on you or any other woman who wants to be alone.  no way.  i believe that whatever the woman needs, she should have.  if she needs her husband, then they need a private recovery area.  teresa's (and your) point is well made. and people need to understand that each woman's situation is uniquely her own.  if she wants friends, she should have them. if she wants seclusion, so be it.  whatever she wants she should get.

          "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

          by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 05:21:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  With all due respect again, JAV. (none)
          I am the one who felt the physical pain of an abortion, not any man.  I support your diary and am glad that you have spoken about your experience.  But there are also a lot of abusive sons of bitches who have no soul and I wouldn't want the chance that one of them would be looking at me during a very touch and go moment.
    •  I have been (4.00)
      in the recovery room.

      "I have no clue" - Bill O'Reilly quoted completely out of context. Hey fair's fair right?

      by chicagochamp on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:36:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So have I with over a thousand women (4.00)
        teaching birth control and sometimes I have been in the room during the proceedure holding the hand of some young girl.  One of them had to have her hyman broken to do the abortion.  She was 13.  Fiture that one out.

        Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

        by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:21:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hope that someone called the cops (4.00)
          and gave them the name of the guy who raped this poor girl.  Guys like that are scum and deserve to go to jail.

          War is hell. Execute Order 66.

          by raymundo on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:51:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It must have been a boy (none)
            Who was not big enough to break the hyman.  [shrugs] Only thing I can come up with.  Still doesn't make much sense.
            •  a bit of education... (4.00)
              The hymen is a membrane, a pliable sheet of tissue that covers or lines or connects organs or cells of animalsmembrane which completely or partially occludes the vagina.

              The term comes from a Greek word meaning "membrane." Because sexual activity would usually puncture this membrane, its presence has been considered a guarantor of virginity, the condition or quality of being a virgin in societies that place a high value on female chastity.

              Unfortunately, the hymen is a poor indicator of actual virginity, because most women break theirs through masturbation, tampon use, or non-sexual activity before having sexual intercourse. Also, some females with intact hymens have had sexual intercourse.

              During the early stages of fetal development there is no opening into the vagina. The thin layer of tissue that conceals the vagina usually divides incompletely prior to birth, forming the hymen. The size and shape of this opening (or openings) varies greatly from person to person. Some of the common ones are:

              Annular - in which the hymen forms a ring around the vaginal opening.

              Septate - in which the hymen has one or more bands extending across the opening.

              Cribriform - in which the hymen stretches completely across the vaginal opening, but looks shot full of holes.

              Parous Introitus - which refers to the vaginal opening which has had a baby pass through it and consequently has nothing left of its hymen but a fleshy irregular outline decorating its perimeter.

              Some women are born with no hymen at all, others with closed hymens that require a medical procedure to allow menstruation, while others have overly thick hymens that may require a  specialist in gynecologygy to break the hymen to prevent pain for the woman during sex, a procedure called a  hymenotomy.

              For these and many other reasons, the hymen should not be used as evidence for or against one's chastity or virginity.

              Sometimes a woman has the hymen surgically restored in order to feign virginity.

              -- taken from a brochure i designed for a local women's clinic a few years back.

              There are many who lust for the simple answers of doctrine or decree. They are on the left and right. They are terrorists of the mind. -- A. Bartlett Giamatti

              by FemiNazi on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 05:59:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I have also (4.00)
        And the diarist summed up the gut wrenching experience well.

        As strong as I pretended to be while being escorted across the protestors, it was one of the weakest moments of my life.  

        Thanks for the diary.  It reminded me to volunteer and return the favor to those folks in florescent yellow vests with 'escort' written across, who helped bewildered people like my girlfriend and myself from the parking lot into the clinic while fantatics screamed what I consider obscenities at us.

        Let them call me as rebel, and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul - Tom Paine

        by Mason Dixon on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:33:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I fully expected protestors (none)
          but there were none at our clinic. This was in Texas mind you so maybe the protestors were licking Bush's feet or something. The town we were originally in that didn't have a place for abortions had 10 or 15 billboards all over town with a picture of the virgin Mary and WWMD? (What Would Mary Do?) I guess they don't see how that advocates choice ...

          I've see a lot more of the hostility lately than I did in 1997, there is obviously some sort of market for Pro-life Christian shirts. "Planned Parenthood would abort Jesus", "Satan is Pro-Choice", "True Christians are pro-life"...

    •  have you at last... (1.09)
      no sense of shame, Teresa?  Do you even have children, or ever have?
    •  There was crying. (4.00)
      And I wish that I had been allowed to have my partner with me.  None of us did.  We SHOULD be allowed to-- just like any other recovery room.  It would help lift some of shit we were all feeling-- each publicly alone.
      •  I know that is the way it felt at the time (4.00)
        but think about this.  What is one of the men in your recovery room was someone you knew who you didn't want knowing your private business?
        I know it is a hard time.  I know because I have been there many many times as a staff member.  
        Yes there is crying, but not that much.  Yes it is sad, but later, it is a relief.  That is what women reported at their 2 week check up and again at 6 weeks.  
        Often the crying is the result of the depressant effects of the anesthetic.

        Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

        by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:27:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You seem to have all the answers for everybody (4.00)
          but if a woman decides that she wants the father with her, or anybody else, male or female, to support her, it's her prerogative, or it ought to be. Women who feel as you suggest can make other arrangements to ensure their privacy.
          •  Not true (4.00)
            Do you have any experience in this field?  Exactly what other arrangements should be made and how should poor women pay for those other arrangements?

            Let me tell you a story.  The clinic I worked at had a regular crowd of protestors.  We also had frequent death threats.  One time a woman who was pregnant and had NO INTENTION of having an abortion made an appointment just so she could get past the waiting room to start screaming anti abortion rhetoric at the other women.  Imagine if this crack pot had been able to bring in her crack pot husband? What if he had been armed?  Should we have police stationed inside the clinic too?  Should clinics be checking for weapons?

            The idea that one woman has the right to dismiss the privacy and safety rights of another is self centered and short sighted.

            Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

            by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:09:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good point (none)
              I'm learning a lot from your postings.  Thank you.
            •  True (4.00)
              Do you have any experience in this field?  Exactly what other arrangements should be made and how should poor women pay for those other arrangements?

              Most clinic spaces probably could accomodate both groups by performing a few interior improvements. But in the (probably rare) cases where this is not possible, I wonder why you believe the rights of one group of women -- those who want privacy -- should outweigh the rights of another group of women -- those who want support from male friends or the male participant in the pregnancy? Why do you get to decide which group has rights and which one doesn't?

              Regarding your story, I am afraid it bears very little relevance to the privacy issues being discussed. A bunch of what ifs don't mean an awful lot  What is more likely to be fatal? Flying on a commercial airliner, or anti-abortion violence inside an abortion clinic?

              The idea that one woman has the right to dismiss the privacy and safety rights of another is self centered and short sighted.

              The safety issue is a total makeweight. Your statement can be so easily turned around against you that I'm surprised you dared make it. How about if I say "The idea that one one woman who is concerned about her privacy (and perhaps is ashamed) can dismiss the rights of another to have the support she wants in the abortion clinic is self centered and short sighted."

              •  You know what (4.00)
                That isn't even logical. Read the Constitution, the right to privacy is a basic civil right.  The right to have your hand held in a difficult situation doesn't trump privacy.  LOL
                As far as my story about safety: each business has a responsibility to take what messures they must to keep patrons safe.

                You have heard of abortion doctors being shot and clinics blown up right?  Did you also see where I mentioned the death threats.  They happen at most clinics.

                Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

                by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:15:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Evidenly you aren't a lawyer (none)
                  That isn't even logical. Read the Constitution, the right to privacy is a basic civil right.  The right to have your hand held in a difficult situation doesn't trump privacy.  LOL

                  You are making a fairly common mistake that most uneducated people make about the reach of constitutional rights such as privacy and expression. The right to privacy places limits on the government's ability to intrude upon it. It does not require private parties such as abortion clinics to afford any privacy whatsoever, except to the extent that disclosure of things such as medical records are prohibited by statute.

                  So, resorting to some constitutional right of privacy is really irrelevant to this discussion. Looked at in another way, if a patient at an abortion clinic is uncomfortable with the lack of privacy in the waiting room, can she sue somebody? No.

                  As far as my story about safety: each business has a responsibility to take what messures they must to keep patrons safe.

                  I am sure we agree completely on this general principle. How this translates into keeping all non-aborting women out of an abortion clinic, I'm not quite sure. Do you have any evidence that people have been killed in abortion clinics by persons who entered, or pretextually entered, to accompany a patient?

                  You have heard of abortion doctors being shot and clinics blown up right?  Did you also see where I mentioned the death threats.  They happen at most clinics.

                  I haven't heard about this happening at the hands of somebody who was accompanying a person who was getting an abortion. Have you?

                  •  Actually, you are wrong. (4.00)
                    All medical facilities have privacy standards, some by law, some they set themselves. Generally speaking, in abortion clinics only the patient is allowed past the lobby. Technically, in a recovery area, if there is no substantial privacy, and even one person objects to non-patients being in the room, all visitors will be asked to leave - the medical right to privacy is number one in the rules. A desire for support does not trump the basic legal and clinical rule of  right to medical privacy, in other words. Most clinics have joint recovery rooms out of necessity - they don't have the space or the personnel to have private recovery areas, for the most part.  Medical facility rules take many things into consideration. In abortion clinics, privacy is paramount, as is safety. Insurance considerations are also in play. What it somes down to is not whether or not anyone should have support if they wish it, but basic privacy standards and how they are applied in medical settings. Teresa is right - privacy trumps all in the medical setting. It's the actual legal situation, and I believe it is also the correct approach.
                    •  Well, sure (none)
                      All medical facilities have privacy standards, some by law, some they set themselves.

                      I would be shocked in the extreme if there were any law that stated no non-medical care person other than a woman planning to have an abortion may enter the treatment area of an abortion facility. If you are aware of any such law, in any state whatsoever, please let me know.

                      Teresa's argument was premised on the constitutional right to privacy. I take it you don't endorse that argument.

                      Generally speaking, in abortion clinics only the patient is allowed past the lobby.

                      If this is generally true (it wasn't in my experience) then the question is why. It is not based on any legal prohibitions, so far as I know.

                      Technically, in a recovery area, if there is no substantial privacy, and even one person objects to non-patients being in the room, all visitors will be asked to leave - the medical right to privacy is number one in the rules.

                      That's why recovery rooms usually have curtains.

                      A desire for support does not trump the basic legal and clinical rule of  right to medical privacy, in other words.

                      I'm not suggesting that either one trumps the other. It's not an either/or situation.  Teresa's big argument is that many of the women might not want anybody they know to learn about their abortion. Well, sorry, but that concern for privacy has no legal support whatsoever to the extent that the loss of it is based upon seeing the patient in the lobby of an abortion clinic, or in the recovery area either.

                      So, the argument becomes this: Does one woman's wish for secrecy outweigh another woman's wish for support? None of you has been able to articulate any reason why it should.

                      Most clinics have joint recovery rooms out of necessity - they don't have the space or the personnel to have private recovery areas, for the most part.

                      I have never seen a joint recovery room that wasn't equipped with curtains to afford patients some privacy.

                      Medical facility rules take many things into consideration. In abortion clinics, privacy is paramount, as is safety. Insurance considerations are also in play.

                      Tell me how insurance considerations are also in play. Can you quote some policy language or rider that has any bearing upon patient privacy or admission of persons into an abortion clinic?

                      What it somes down to is not whether or not anyone should have support if they wish it, but basic privacy standards and how they are applied in medical settings. Teresa is right - privacy trumps all in the medical setting.

                      That is saying essentially nothing. There is a certain amount of privacy every medical patient is entitled to expect. They should expect that their medical records will not be turned over to anybody who asks for them. They should expect that their health care provider will not breach physician/patient privilege. But they have no legal right to have their presence in an abortion clinic known only to medical providers and other patients.

                      It's the actual legal situation, and I believe it is also the correct approach.

                      No, it's not the "actual legal situation," whatever that is. Each clinic can makes its own policies, so long as those policies are within the law. But that's not a "legal situation." It's a "policy situation." We are debating policy here, not law.

                  •  the threat of (none)
                    such events carries a lot of weight.  rightly so, because it does happen, at least sometimes (however rarely) so i would want to err on the side of safety.  it is funny how your "rationale" post fails to consider that idea.

                    death threats do have that strange effect of intimidation.

                    i think the solution would be to try to address the core causes of abortion (poverty, miseducation etc).

            •  I'm surprised-- (none)
              T:  Our clinic had a cop inside, metal detector, bags searched for weapons-- I'm actually surprised there are clinics that don't still have all of that.
            •  If you want to play what if (none)
              What if she had been armed? Or is storming an abortion clinic with a gun a uniquely male prerogative?
        •  Would you object to (4.00)
          a woman being in the recovery room as support for her friend? It would be just as likely that you might come across an aquaintance?
          •  Yes (4.00)
            I would object just as strongly.  In fact that was also against our policy. Unless you were pregnant and having an abortion you stayed in the waiting room. In addition to the privacy rights there are safety issues to consider.

            Like I said in another post:

            The clinic I worked at (I am talking 1995/96, not 1973) had a regular crowd of protestors.  We also had frequent death threats.  One time a woman who was pregnant and had NO INTENTION of having an abortion made an appointment just so she could get past the waiting room to start screaming anti abortion rhetoric at the other women.  Imagine if this crack pot had been able to bring in her crack pot husband? What if he had been armed?  Should we have police stationed inside the clinic too?  Should clinics be checking for weapons?

            Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

            by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:14:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  teresa (4.00)
          first, thank you for all your work in this field. truly, i am so grateful that you help women through this procedure.

          i understand your privacy concerns and you make good points with the examples... but what i would like to know is if you really feel that men should simply not be allowed into recovery at all.  i am of the opinion that if a woman wants the man there he should be there. i don't think it's right to deny a woman something that might comfort her during that time.

          "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

          by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:38:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  to piggy back on this question-- (4.00)
            Are we talking about not letting women have any support in the recovery room or just male supprt?

            I, too, thank you for what you do and remember the woman who held my hand.  It would have been awful without her.

            But having my partner in the recovery room would have gone a long way toward helping us heal together.

          •  but you are thinking only of that one woman (none)
            That is my problem with your argument.  Why does one woman's right to have "comfort" come before another woman's right to privacy?

            Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

            by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:18:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  no, i'm not (none)
              naturally since i've been there i am thinking about the woman who had the abortion.  BUT i am also taking into consideration the others.   naturally i want them to retain their privacy.  but i see no reason why the partner/boyfriend/husband should not be allowed to be with the woman after the procedure.  what is so wrong with that? or maybe a better question would be "do you think there is something wrong with that?"

              i understand you have privacy concerns.  let me ask you this: do most clinics have one giant recovery room? i am sure there are some that have private rooms, or curtains. in those cases, what is so wrong with having the men back there?  

              "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

              by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:42:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It was one giant room. (none)
                There was very little privacy throughout the entire experience.  The people in the waiting room could pretty much assume why you were there.  Saying that, I didn't spend half an hour in the recovery room (God knows I wanted to get the hell out of there and go to sleep).  Me and the other YOUNG GIRLS did not need to see strange men with us in that room-partners, friends, or whomever they were to the women there.  I am highly suspicious of men for my own reasons, and at a time when I felt quite vulnerable the last thing I wanted to see was strange faces.  Living without a support person for a half hour and then getting to reunite with them doesn't sound like an end all be all sacrifice for the sake of privacy.
                •  i completely hear you (none)
                  i'm sorry it was uncomfortable for you. =(

                  i hope you had someone to get you through it.

                  "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

                  by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 05:28:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It was a long time ago (none)
                    And probably one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life and I knew it at the time.  I am thankful that you and JAV have a great relationship...you sound like the kind of level headed people who should be raising children!
                    •  that (none)
                      is about the greatest compliment you could pay to a person.  i am truly humbled.

                      "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

                      by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 05:45:07 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

        •  How crowded is it? (4.00)
          I've never been in this position, so am not sure of the mechanics of recovery and timing.

          How many women are in recovery at once? Could a clinic ask the women in there if it's okay for a friend to come visit?

          Is it a big open room? No curtains or anything?

          If it was my wife or daughter I'd want to be there. (Or any woman who thought enough of me to ask me along)

          Part of the point of the diary is that women are MADE to feel ashamed of having an abortion.  I would find it difficult to believe that a man who was in a recovery room with a woman who invited him there would take much time looking at the other women. I also can't imagine that person discussing what he saw in that room with other people?   Would I go there to support my wife, but point and jeer at the other women?

          There must be some equitable solution to the privacy concerns.

          1984: Orwell wrote a cautionary tale. George Bush mistook it for a manifesto.

          by mungley on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:02:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is going to be my last post on (none)
            this argument.  
            No one is suggesting that men would point and smirk. For God's sake...it is a simple matter of having a right not to run into your boyfriend from college or the guy who delivers your pizza, or the mother of your next door neighbor or the woman who cleans your teeth.
            If they are there having an abortion then that is another matter, you can't control that. In that case you are in the same boat.

             But you can control all the people who don't NEED to be there.

            In addition there is a matter of safety. Believe it or not anti-abortion nut jobs have been known to try and get past waiting rooms to do God knows what.

            Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

            by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:24:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So, you could ask... (none)
              I'll ask again.

              Is there any way that the staff could ask the women assembled if a friend could join a specific patient?

              I'll defer to your experience in the field, but from the outside it seems unduly harsh to have a blanket "NO" policy.

              1984: Orwell wrote a cautionary tale. George Bush mistook it for a manifesto.

              by mungley on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:35:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why should they be put on the spot? (4.00)
                So you walk into a room of women who are coming out of a drug induced stupor and ask them "hey do you mind if Debby's Boy Friend comes in? So you say "no problem" and Debby's boyfriend ends up being the ex-husband you had a huge custody battle with two years before?

                Business's have policies for a reason.  Most clinics are extremely rushed and have to run like a well oiled machine.  They are also usually very crowded, with women walking around in their medical gowns and getting group counseling.  They are not the money making industry the right likes to portray them as.  To provide affordable services they can't also provide individual rooms and extra staff to herd loved ones.

                I also remember watching lots of women comfort and talk to each other. These woman knew better than anyone what the other is experiencing.

                Really this whole discussion has gotten out of hand.  Apparently some clinics are allowing women to have someone with them.  I just don't agree with it.

                Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

                by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:59:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think you're very clearly pointing out (none)
                  that while abortion is still legal in this nation, it is far from being equitably available.

                  The people on the medical front lines are straining to protect the dignity and privacy of the women involved.

                  I actually think that patients should have the right to support.  I'd want my partner to be there.  But I can certainly understand how strained resources lead to a triage situation.

                  Not every clinic is like this.  I'm sorry to hear that yours is.  Perhaps a diary on how we can help more directly?

                  •  Most clinics are like "mine" (none)
                    My suggestion on how you can help is to start thinking more logically about the rights of privacy and safety that medical patients deserve from any doctor or medical facility.

                    Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

                    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:25:52 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I agree with you (4.00)
                      Many are not really familiar with the average clinic, nor are they familiar with the privacy laws in medical facilities - privacy always trumps. It has nothing to do with support or what would be nice or whatnot - it's just the way it is. And, it's is the way it should be. If you think about being in recovery for any other surgery, you don't lie around in a big room full of people with no curtains - like some of the clinics have you do out of lack of space.
                      Most people have no idea what kind of security is required, or how awful the zealots are out front.
                      A visitor seeing someone who obviously had an abortion in the recovery room strips the patient's privacy right. It is a shame that we can't do better than this for our citizens.
                      Thanks for some great points and explanations - especially for reminding people that pregnancy is, in fact, a risk to your health and life by it's very nature.
                •  I've gotta back up TeresainPA (4.00)
                  on this, as a clinic defender -- one of the clinics in the city that had to take a case all the way to the Supreme Court for fifteen years to even get some support for our alleged Constitutional rights.  

                  Unless you have personally seen -- not on TV, which is sanitized -- Randall Terry and Matt Trewhalla and the Missionaries for the Preborn and the rest, by the thousands, and in action . . . unless you have seen them do anything to get inside the clinics . . . unless you have seen how little the cops and DA do . . . I've gotta back up TeresainPA on this.

                  You want better recovery room facilities for the clinics?  DEMAND that they not have to be clinics.  Put them in hospitals -- and then see if the cops and the DA stand by when even every visitor has to go past thousands of throwbacks (straight out of the movie Deliverance) screaming and whacking them with posters of fetuses -- and of blownup photos of the women who went in the day before. . . .

                  Or, have all vasectomies banned from hospitals but done at the same clinics.

                  "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

                  by Cream City on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 05:39:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  mine (4.00)
            everyone was together in the lobby/waiting room. individually we got sonograms and then were counselled.  together again in a waiting area afterwards (women only, no men were allowed here). individually into the procedure room. together again in recovery. there were curtains and huge recliners.

            "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

            by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 05:30:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Why are you only talking about men? (none)
          I'm sure women apply just as well, yet no one is trying to keep women out of the recovery rooms.
          •  Why do you assume anything? (none)
            are you making the assumption this is some kind of anti man thing?  Geez.....

            NO ONE should be allowed into the recovery room.  Not your husband, not your mother, not you lesbian business associate, not your sister, not the neighbor lady.  Privacy is privacy.

            Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

            by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 08:58:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why do I make the assumption? (none)
              Simple: because that's all you've been talking about in your posts.

              There is, of course, one very very simple solution that would eliminate all strife over this "privacy" problem:
              Privacy screens in the recovery room!!!!1111oneone11!!1

      •  I know it feels that way (4.00)
        but clinics restrict entrance to their surgery and recovery areas because it can be dangerous not to.

        What TeresaInPa said in her post is the way it is; it's to keep our patients safe.

        Here in Dallas several years ago, Operation Rescue needed money to satisfy a legal judgment and sold some office furnishings and computers to raise cash. A woman called us soon afterward to tell us that OR had left some scary stuff on the hard drive of the computer she bought from them.

        She printed out the files and sent us a copy. Along with a protester's daily diary, which was scary enough in itself, there was a plan to invade the surgery/recovery area of the clinic.

        How? A fake patient's male partner would let the invaders in through the emergency exit door when he had gained access to that area of the clinic.

        Agents from the FBI, the ATF and the Federal Marshal's Office came out to our clinic to do a security assessment, and informed us in no uncertain terms that, if we continued to permit non-patients into the surgery area of the building, we were asking for a tragedy to happen.

        So please understand that we and many other clinics don't refuse a woman in surgery the support of her husband, boyfriend, mother, sister or anyone else because we don't care about how she feels.

        We do it because it is our responsibility to keep her and our other patients safe.

        •  Moiv (none)
          Thank you for the back up.  I am finding it hard to believe that some clinics are not following the most  basic rules of privacy and safety.  

          Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

          by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:04:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's sad (none)
            that either we or our patients should even have to think about such things.

            Sad, outrageous and unconscionable, because the government knows who these people are.

            As I've said before on this subject, Eric Rudolph wouldn't have been the object of a years-long federal manhunt if "all" he'd done was kill an off-duty police officer and maim nurse Emily Lyons for life in a clinic bombing in Birmingham. He made the most-wanted list because of Olympic Park.

            And Clayton Waagner wasn't charged for storming around the country, armed to the teeth and carrying a carful of explosives, while publicly announcing that he had targeted 42 doctors and clinic workers for assassination, either. He was charged, tried and is serving time for mailing fake anthrax letters to clinics at a time when the administration wanted the whole population scared to death of anthrax terrorists.

            And then the anthrax story just faded away, with no one brought to justice for the real anthrax crimes.

            Layer upon layer upon layer of wrongness.

    •  Never mind the recovery, (4.00)
      my partner stayed with me throughout the procedure as well.

      Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

      by bumblebums on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:17:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in what type of facility? (2.00)
        If it was a woman's clinic I am really sorry to hear that the clinic had no more respect for the other patients than that.  

        Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

        by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:29:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Teresa: (4.00)
          We've got to stop doing this in the dark if we don't want it to be so shameful.  I do see what you're saying about privacy-- and would I have been thrilled to run into, say, my college prfessor there with his wife?  Hm.  I might have not wanted him to know I'd been pregnant, but it also might have made me feel better to know that he'd been there, too.
        •  Most of the surgical recovery rooms I've been in (none)
          have had privacy curtains.  I would be surprised if these clinics didn't have them as well.  I've been surprised before though...

          Socially libertarian, Fiscally conservative, 100% Democrat. Cheney unity!

          by No One No Where on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:45:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  A small facility in Boston (4.00)
          Teresa, we're all human beings. He had every right to be there, where what was happening had everything to do with him. Nobody else was involved.

          It's the high road, in my opinion.

          Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

          by bumblebums on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:51:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  why is this so hard to understand? (none)
            It is not about his rights or your rights. It is about the rights of the other women there.

            Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

            by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:55:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not about our rights? (none)
              Nobody else was in the room other than the medical staff. He was invited into the procedure room, to be there with me.

              Nobody's rights were compromised.

              Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

              by bumblebums on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:59:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  No, it's about everybody's rights (4.00)
              They all need to be balanced somehow.
            •  You seem very stuck on this... (4.00)
              ...rule, when it sounds from other's stories that "your" facility is the exception in having such a rule.

              Obviously you feel strongly about it, but is it possible that in weighing the conflicting rights that most other facilities come down on the other side? Maybe they don't have the same security situation?

              My own experience was long ago (1979) when things were different than they are now. I could have gone into the recovery room, but my now-wife asked me not to. It wasn't a time to push her.

              "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

              by Mad Dog Rackham on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:20:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Or maybe, just maybe... (none)
          ...they had respect for the woman actually having the operation? Or there were private recovery rooms? Or do you really just think you know everything by default?
    •  in response to your answer (none)
      would you then say, if men have no rights, that they also have no obligations? if you think men have no say in the matter, do you still maintain that a man who wishes his partner to get an abortion be forced to pay child support if the woman chooses the alternative?
      I personally think a man ought to pay, but he also ought to have some form of rights over product of his genetic material. dont ask me how this would work though, because i cannot think of a good way of working this out without taking away the rights of the woman.
      •  I think philosophically, (none)
        it would be great if men had a say.  Emotionally, I think it would be great if men had a say.  But at the end of the day, I always come back to biology - biology doesn't take into account our tender feelings.  It is only the woman's body affected by pregnancy, and at risk by pregnancy (complications kill half a million women a year), and therefore I think it is her decision and her decision only.   If she wants to include the father in the discussion, that's great.  But I don't think she should be required to.

        "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life." Frank Zappa

        by cclough on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:54:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  once a child is born (none)
        that child has rights.  Then we are not tallking about the rights of the woman.  Beleive me, the 100 bucks a month the government is going to make you pay doesn't even begin to pay half of that childs upkeep...to say nothing of the time involved in raising a child.
        Men's control ends when his sperm leaves his body.
        That is why it is a really good idea to take responsibility for birth control yourself or not to  have sex with women you are not married to.  Even with the ones you are married to, you better know how they feel about abortion and raising children.  It's called having a relationship.
         

        Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

        by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:04:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Women crying (none)
      I agree, Teresa.

      I was startled by the "crying scene" characterization in this diary and find it to be inaccurate.  I disagree with it.

      In fact, though women may be conflicted and saddened by the decision, I would bet that many women feel empowered and freed by the experience.  

      •  crying (none)
        you know, i was there and it's accurate.  everyone was crying.  i (and the diarist) did not speculate why anyone else was crying.  i just know why i was crying and how comforting it was to have him there with me.

        "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

        by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:06:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Crying (4.00)
        While not disputing that some tears flow after such a procedure. Somehow I don't think they compare to the years of tears women who have placed their children  shed,yes those tears are there even decades of losing their child to adoption. I had more than one mom say to me she was never told that the pain would be so great and so longlasting. True, how could they convince a girl to place if they told the truth?
      •  They're pregnant, for goodness sakes. (4.00)
        When I was pregnant, I cried at the drop of a hat.  Couple that with anesthesia that causes a mild depression and you've got a double whammy.

        Toss on a heap of stress about whether you're doing the right thing, a pinch of anger about all those wingnuts calling you a murderer and you're bound to cry.

        Not to mention the humiliation of being reduced to a carrier of tissue.

        Oh...and it sort of hurts afterward too.

        Lots of reasons to cry.

      •  you disagree with it? (none)
        unless i'm mistaken, the diarist wasn't making a "characterization," he was describing something that actually happened in reality.

        "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

        by jethropalerobber on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:18:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It refers to a specific event... (none)
        ...in a specific person's life. How can you "find it to be inaccurate" or "disagree with it" unless you were the one having the experience?
    •  When I was young (4.00)
      mid-70s, just beginning to think about girls, my father sat me down one day.

      He said (and I can hear his voice in my ear when I remember it): "I don't care what you do son, or when you choose to do it. It's your life, but remember this. Whatever you do with a girl you do for life. You accept the consequences the minute you make that choice. You assume responsibilty for ANYTHING that happens. If you can't do that, walk away. If you can't do that, you're not a man. I know you have NO idea what I'm talking about now, but remember it."

      It stuck with me, and it entered into the choices I made in every relationship I've had. I turned down sex with a Catholic girl I dated in High School b/c she wouldn't let me use birth control. If it fails, I am honor-bound to accept her choices, and honor-bound to support a child if she keeps it. I already made my choice.  

      It's the greatest gift my father gave me.

  •  Good diary (4.00)
    This is the trickiest part IMO:

    First of all, since it does take two people to get a woman pregnant, does the man have any say in what happens? What if the pregnancy is an accident, but the man wants to keep the child if the woman doesn't? Sure she has to carry the child to term, but does the father have any rights? After all, it is his child as well.

    My big soapbox wrt abortion is that it's about the pregnancy at least as much as it is about parenthood, if not more so.  It's true that a newborn can be given away (intense hormonal urges to the contrary notwithstanding); it's also true that deciding not to abort by no means guarantees a live, healthy baby at the end of gestation.  Really, all a woman can commit to is an attempt, active or passive, to carry to term, or termination.  A man can't do even that, and can renege on any commitments he makes.  Really, there's no way the man can have a right to make any decisions, because it isn't his physical being that's at stake.  There's no way for law to compensate for biology in this case.  I'm in the minority that believes that men should be able to terminate parental rights & get off the hook for child support, because it's the closest analogy to abortion in that it allows an after-the-fact escape, but there's little support for that POV.

    My personal opinion is that a good number of abortions are at the behest of, or in response to indifference from, the men in question.  That's the weakness in promoting birth control; some women are going to be open to pregnancy as a means of cementing a relationship and be disappointed when it happens.

    Compromise is something you do behind the scenes. Stop doing it in public. -Atrios

    by latts on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:26:08 AM PDT

    •  At the clinic where I had my abortion (4.00)
      they had two rooms.  One was crowded, full of women (a lot of them barely girls) who didn't have men with them.  They often had friends, but no men. Then there was another room, in back. It was comfortable. It was the family waiting room.  I sat there with my boyfriend. Only three couples shared that room all day.  I sat there all day. I don't know if they forgot about me, or if they took the couple's last.  A few times I walked through the hall and saw the crowded woman only room.  It amazed me that so few men were willing to share the experience.  

      I didn't see anybody crying.  The couple sharing the room with us longest already had three children, and I had (and have) very good reasons for not having a child. I don't remember it as particularly traumatic, although I did faint afte the procedure. It was mostly stress release.  I was scared. I don't like medical procedures, and I hate pain.  I'm sorry they didn't allow you in with your wife when she had the abortion.  It may have been easier for her.

    •  There's no good answer to the question. (none)
      The issue should be discussed between the couple, obviously.

      I'd like to see more couples discuss the ground rules before they have sex.

      But you are correct.  The woman's wishes are paramount, in this situation.  They have to be, since she has the most at stake.

  •  Why men cannot have a right of veto (4.00)
    The decision to have an abortion is one which, when the chips are down, must be made by the woman. The main reason for this, if you do not accept the bodily integrity issue, or the economic issue, or the career issue, or the health risks inherent in pregnancy is that allowing a man the power of veto opens a pandora's box for abusers to use this power to keep a hold over the one they have abused.
    It's sad that this would be an issue, but knowing some who work in the court system and in domestic violence cases, the day a law was passed allowing men to veto a woman's abortion decision, there would be a queue of abusers outside the courts waiting, just to "get back" at their girlfriends.

    It's not a good system, and I don't like it either. But it's the only one that will work at all.

    •  you are probably right (4.00)
      bout the abuser thing.

      this is a real tricky question for me because i know what JAV's been through regarding this. years ago we were in no position to be reproducing (and in fact we got pregnant while using birth control - we're in the .02%). it was by far the most difficult and gut wrenching decision we ever had to make, but we did it together.

      i guess we were some of the lucky ones because JAV was a real man about the situation. i'll always be grateful for how he took care of me over those painful couple of weeks.

      now it's several years later and he (as you can see from the post) wants kids. it's something we're discussing and he's just about got me convinced that it's time. but this time we are totally ready. we're both working, insured, got a bit of savings, and we're mature adults who are ready to take that next step. and this might sound harsh, but back then we did what needed to be done. if we hadn't done it, we would not be in the position we are today.

      again, i think we are the lucky ones. and because i know that there are women who aren't so lucky, i have to continue to stand up for choice.

      "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

      by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:50:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Standing up for choice (4.00)
        because i know that there are women who aren't so lucky, i have to continue to stand up for choice.

        One of the things that is really starting to sink in for me in these discussions is how tenuous the right to abortion seems to be in the US. I'm not used to thinking like that because back home in the UK, it's a battle that has been won. This seems to have the side effect that having an honest, open discussion about abortion is nearly impossible, because when you're fighting against an extremist, in many ways your only choice is to be an extremist back. I would love to talk about ways to reduce the abortion rate, combining contraceptives with the debate as a method of reduction, economic issues, paid leave.. there are a host of things we can tie in with abortion, childcare and women's rights. The problem is that if we do so, we open a window for the extreme right to step in. It's understandable that so many people are vehemantly opposed to even having the conversation, even if it's incredibly frustrating.

        It's my hope that as the right to choose gets more firmly entrenched (and it's coming, albeit slowly, if we just hold our ground) then eventually that right will be so assured that we will be able to go back and start talking about wider issues. But I'm starting to realise why, with the basic right under such a sustained onslaught, this issue is so emotive and difficult to discuss.

    •  There was.... (4.00)
      ...a very sad article in the WPost mag a few weeks ago about a couple who had a baby that was clearly braindead. The husband wanted an abortion, the woman refused (because a miracle might happen?) The husband hounded the woman with charts and statistics for the entire pregnancy, but she was unwilling to change.

      The baby was born, lived about 15 minutes, and died.

      Personally, I thought the husband was right. Except for the bit about hounding his wife - that's wrong.

      And so, I agree with you that the final decision must be made by the woman. Even if it seems insane to the man.

      "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar" --1 John 4:20 (NIV)

      by mecki on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:46:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Don't Think The Man Gets A Vote (none)
      If a woman donates an egg, or a couple donates a fertilized egg, or even if the pregnant woman is a surrogate mother, the decision to continue or end the pregnancy stays with the woman who is actually pregnant.

       

      Are you more bitter now than you were four years ago?

      by CountAsterisk on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 05:33:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This should be on the front page (4.00)
    Very seldom do we hear mens thoughts on this,which raises the question,for me,:Do THEY even care?

    Thank you for posting this diary and thank you for letting us 'in'.I was quite moved by your thoughts.I guess women sometimes forget men are capable of deeper emotions,when it comes to pregnancy/abortion/children.

    The truth will set you free,but first it will piss you off.

    by mint julep on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:27:21 AM PDT

    •  I think they do care. (4.00)
      But I think in many cases there's so much of a sense of failure and weakness attached to the experience/memory, that they don't talk about it.  

      I've been inconversations with groups of women when it comes out that one person has had an abortion...and then the stories start flowing and you find out how many women you know have.  I wonder if men have those conversations and what they focus on....

      •  same thing happened to me (4.00)
        a few years back.  i was in downtown fort worth after a democratic party meeting, and a bunch of us dean folks went to eat together.  a few tables over were a bunch of clarkies, and after a while i went outside to smoke. a few women joined me and we got to talking and eventually the subject of abortion came up. one of us admitted it, then all of a sudden every other one admitted to having an abortion too. it ended in a group hug. it was surreal, but i sure felt a lot less alone after that experience.

        "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

        by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:08:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  no, we definitely don't care... (none)
      didn't you read the diary???

      "...we are more concerned with how it will feel to have an orgasm. The creation of life part rarely is given any real concern."

      See? We only think about getting off, not babies!

      •  totally missing the point (none)
        way to pick out one teeny statement out of a whole story and latch on to it.  oh well, i figured this thread would start to devolve once more people got their eyes on it.

        i'll let JAV answer you if he feels like it.

        "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

        by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:50:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no, i got the point of the diary (none)
          and i agreed with it, but these kind of generalized statements are just lame.

          just as there are men who are jerks who would "fuck and run", leaving a woman pregnant by herself, there are women who would try to get pregnant to lock in a man, or because babies are cute and they want to love/feel loved. but i would never, ever generalize about all women that way.

          •  i hear ya (none)
            no hard feelings, man.  you gotta understand my guy is a blunt kind of guy, and yea sometimes we use those generalisation a bit too liberally. ;)  sorry if you felt lumped in or anything like that. he certainly isn't saying all men.  

            "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

            by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:11:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  fair enough (none)
              "my guy"... is he your husband??

              i guess he didn't literally mean "all men", but we did write that.  i just think it's a bad idea to reinforce the stereotype of men as the unthinking body attached to a penis.

              ah well, no hard feelings.

              •  yea he's mine (none)
                i'm a lucky gal.

                and i see your point.  sorry if we got a bit harsh with each other.  i was hoping for a civil discussion, so thanks for adding to it.

                "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

                by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:11:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  I'll tell ya.. (4.00)
      Y'all sometimes need to let us care.  There's an almost reflexive reaction here that men aren't permitted into the sanctum sanctorum of The Abortion Decision.  

      The fact of the matter is that I do care.  A lot.  I care about the woman.  I care about the potential life.  I care about myself and my lifelong emotional reaction to the knowledge that a potential offspring - someone I could love and cherish and teach - won't have the chance.

      I'm ... sad ... that you're surprised that men can be emotional about this sort of thing.  I guess popular culture has succeeded in turning us into bumbling, oversexed buffoons.

      •  But: (none)
        I don't have a problem with the man giving an opinion if asked. But shouldn't the woman have the final say because of the fact that it's her body we're talking about?
        •  Should I... (none)
          Should I have final and exclusive say with a medical procedure affecting my body?  I used the same illustration in another response, but if I were to get a treatable cancer but I elected to forego treatment because I didn't want to go through months of suffering, would you expect my spouse simply to "accept" my "final" decision?  

          So, no, certainly in the case of spouses, I don't believe one or the other should have sole and exclusive final say about decisions that will affect the family.  Some of you may be tempted to call me a misogynist or a troglodyte paternalist for that comment, but all I can say is that's not true.  I simply don't agree that people always and under every circumstance exercise dominion over their bodies, especially when they are bound by marriage.

          •  Big difference. (none)
            The decision you bring up is a life-and-death decision. The decision on whether or not to terminate a pregnancy affects the woman more than the man because it's her body and not the man's.
            •  So, what you're saying is... (none)
              If your spouse dies, it doesn't affect you?  Or if I die it doesn't affect me?  

              What if instead of a life-and-death decision, it's simply a quality-of-life decision?  

              •  I said no such thing. (none)
                I said that WAS a life-and-death decision, whereas the decision to end one's pregnancy is usually (but not always) not.
              •  quality of life decision (4.00)
                wow, you know, what you just wrote hit me like a ton of bricks.

                i think to some people, the decision to terminate a pregnancy is a quality of life decision. i don't know if that makes the decision sound selfish in any way, but it's an honest description.

                i say this because our quality of life would be vastly different had we decided to proceed with the pregnancy. there were many factors that weighed into the decision, but ultimately our quality of life - and by extension the quality of life of our potential child - would have suffered greatly overall.

                i have always told myself that if and when i decide to procreate, i am going to do it the right way. as someone who grew up in a very broken home, i have a very distinct idea of "the right way" for me to do it.  the right way includes being financially stable, in a loving relationship, things of that sort. i would not want to put a child through what i went through. back then, there was a very real chance that carrying the pregnancy term would result in just that.

                but now it's different. we're lucky because we made it and now we're in a much better place. and we're going to have kids. we're going to plan a pregnancy or adoption, and our potential child will have a much better chance of making it, of having a good start in life, because of the decision we made years ago.

                "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

                by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 04:55:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I wish I could give you an 8 (none)
                  or a 12...

                  And to everyone on this thread - those I agree with and those I don't - for telling the truth about the issue.

                  The only thing I want to add, if there's anyone who wonders, is that by "quality of life" I'm not diminishing the importance of the decision in any way.  Some truly profound life decisions can fall into the quality of life category because, after all, this life is the only one you've got (at least this time around, heh).

                  Anyway, thank you.

          •  I think there are two issues here.... (4.00)
            ...I think that, stepping outside of abortion specifically, that medical decisions should be legally the sole purview of the patient (that is, the spouse shouldn't have a legal veto), but that there may be a moral obligation even aside from any legal requirement to share information and discuss with the spouse in certain cases.

            But I don't think that it is the kind of moral obligation that ought to be enforced by law.

            •  This is a much tougher argument.. (none)
              But the only thing I can say without thinking about it for a while is that the idea of absolute personal decisionmaking is legally invalid.  If it were, the entire concept of a legally enforceable power of attorney or the presumption of spousal medical decisionmaking in the case of an incapacitated spouse would not exist.  So, while I understand the distinction you're trying to make, I'd have to disagree that the law embraces absolute personal sovereignty, even individualistic America.
              •  I don't think... (4.00)
                ...that powers of attorney or alternative decisionmaking in the case of incapacity undermines or is in any way inconsistent with absolute personal decisionmaking. Part of absolute personal decisionmaking is the ability to give a conditional delegation of that power.
                •  Sure, that's true (none)
                  But there are other circumstances when personal decisionmaking is limited (expanding the discussion somewhat, the entire concept of "law" depends on a recognition that some social and legal norms carry more weight than personal choice).

                  What of the marital unity argument though?  Does marriage, as a legal concept, have any substance if there isn't a subordination of individual choices to consensus of the pair in some circumstances?  Are we really better off as a country if marriage is just two people in a contractual relationship than we are if marriage is a solemn binding of two people into one unit?

                  •  Two different ways of saying the same thing... (none)
                    What of the marital unity argument though?  Does marriage, as a legal concept, have any substance if there isn't a subordination of individual choices to consensus of the pair in some circumstances?

                    Sure, the fact that each has agreed to be bound by the individual decision of the other in some cases has social utility. There are decisions in marriage that may be desirable to be subordinated to pair consensus by law rather than custom, but I don't see any reason why medical decisions ought to be among them.

                    •  We disagree... (none)
                      ... but at least we're speaking the same language.

                      It's not as if this is math class where 2+2 does, in fact, equal 4, no matter how you look at it.  Right and wrong seldom have clear boundary points in any discussion of personal morality (even the concept of homicide gets fuzzy when you consider self-defense or war).

                      I think, however, that we can agree with each other that the federal government should not be making the decision (whether for the moral reason that people should make this sort of decision or for the legal reason that police power and definition of crimes is almost always left to the states).

                •  I also want to make one thing clear... (none)
                  As I've said before around here, abortion is an area where my mind isn't completely made up.  

                  What I do feel strongly about, however, is this attitude that men have no business talking about abortion and that men have nothing constructive to say about the abortion matter.  To me, that's a patently offensive and insulting statement and reinforces incorrect stereotypes that all men are pigs.  Some of us care very much about our mates, some of us care very much about our children, and some of us care very much about the possibility of having children when the little nugget of cells is half us.

                  Women say, "Only we carry the baby, so you can't say anything about it."  Fine, but we can say, "Only we can provide the sperm, and without us (at some point in the process), you'd have no baby."

                  Men can, do, and should have input into profound family decisions.  I don't think the issue I'm addressing is choice or anti-choice as much as it involves the relationship between men and women.

          •  Um, yes... (none)
            Your spouse should accept your decision about cancer treatment, were that the case. I would. Further, I thin kthat not accepting that kind of wish would be selfish - but that's my view.

            You obviously have some strong feelings about what marriage means - but I am curious - by 'having a say' do you mean final decision power, or merely opinion power? Would you really want or expect your wife to carry a baby she didn't want to? Would you think it fair of her to 'decide' that you must be a father, regardless of your possible wish to the contrary?

            In my view, married couples of course discuss things, and often compromise - but a view of some kind of partial ownership of the other, or some symbiotic deal where one can boss the other because of a 'joined marital body' frankly, gives me the creeps - although I know it is common in religious thought, and everyone is free to look at it as they wish.

  •  I don't want to go here, but- (4.00)
    I will.

    I hear your call to embrace birth as a natural part of life, and to change the economics so women actually have choices, rather than no other choice (job, apartment, income and insurance vs. baby)  pitting men and women against each other, estranging women from their bodies, from their emotions, from their families even.  

    I favor the legalization of abortion because it is much more humane than the alternative, locking up women, losing women to unsafe and unscrupulous barbarism.  I know that abortion is a self defense mechanism. Some times it is a fragile emotional balance, the possible eviction, the domestic violence situation, the lack of support structures, or family, sometimes it is simply not knowing what to do, facing the possibility of going home alone with a baby, or alternatively taking a baby into an already thinly stretched home filled to the brim with other children.

    As a mom, I tend toward the family-friendly atmosphere,it's something I have to cultivate, it just does not happen over night.  The single friends are not as appealing, because they do not have parties that include whole families, I don't go to nightclubs, I want open air concerts where I can take the kids and sit on a blanket.  We go to Disneyworld, not Las Vegas.

    Family friendly means a whole atmosphere, not just a choice.  It's about fostering an ideal that supports women's fertility regardless whether she has the child or not.  It's about being patient on the plane when the baby cries, it's about offering the seat to a pregnant woman, it's about supporting anti-domestic violence laws, and inviting your married friends with or without kids, it's about supporting local events, carnivals, and public events that welcome all ages, and it's about sitting for a friend once in a while.

    Men can offer a hand to women by knowing where they stand on the issue BEFORE there's an unwanted pregnancy.  Talk first.  Have a plan.  And if you already have enough children, get clipped.

    •  Babysitting (none)
      Excellent point on babysitting!

      When the going rate for a 13-year-old babysitter is $8.50/hr, there's not much most families (especially single moms) can afford to do.

      Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.
      What is the White House Hiding?

      by mataliandy on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 06:48:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is the problem (none)
        with our overly-mobile society.

        I have free babysitting almost any time I want it, as my parents and my sister live within a mile, and my in-laws and my wife's sister and brother-in-law live within an hour. We never have a problem with free family babysitting.

        And, believe me, I know very well how damn lucky that makes us.

        My mother, bless her--when I went third shift, she rearranged her work schedule so she could take my four-year-old every other Wednesday, my toughest day from an I-need-sleep perspective. (Today, unfortunately, is the 'off' Wednesday. Yawn. :-))

        As I said, I know how lucky this is.  

        "Don't call yourself religious, not with that blood on your hands"--Little Steven Van Zandt

        by ChurchofBruce on Wed Jun 15, 2005 at 05:10:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Who decides? (4.00)
    If for some reason my BCPs failed and I got pregnant I would absolutely consult my boyfriend on whether I would have an abortion. I would take his advice into consideration and I would value it highly but in the end it WOULD be my decision. If a person doesn't trust me to make that kind of decision then they should not be engaging in behaviors with me that would potentially force me to make that kind of decision.

    All that said... pregnancy tends to be the LAST thing on my mind when I'm horny!

    •  I saw an interesting drama unfold (4.00)
      among some acquaintances. A couple had lived together for years, and as they approached their late thirties without kids, the woman suddenly began to want kids. The man had never wanted kids, and restated very clearly that this was still the case.

      They had consulted about birth control long ago, and she had been on the pill for years. One day she became pregnant. She insisted it was an accident, but he was furious and felt he had been tricked. (She let slip a few comments that indicated this was likely to be true, although no one but her will ever know.)

      They broke up two months after she announced her pregnancy. She had the baby and the man now provides almost all financial support to the baby, and spends quite a bit of time with her, although he and his former partner no longer have a relationship.

      I am firmly pro-choice. But this story presented some interesting questions to me, and I'm not sure that I can answer them with any certainty. What are the man's rights and responsibilities in this case?

      All the women in our circle immediately jumped to the woman's side, feeling that the man was a jerk for "abandoning" her. After all, it takes two to become pregnant, right? But shouldn't a man be able to take her word that she was on the pill enough, especially when that had been the case for years? Is there no basis for trust?--does a man have to use a condom on top of that in a monogamous relationship? The only way he had to defend himself was to go around insisting that the mother of his child was a liar, which he didn't do.  

      If a woman has the right to choose not to have a baby, does a man ever have the right to walk away in a situation like this? I'm not sure. I'm glad he hasn't abandoned the baby, who never deserved to be born into such a horrible situation. But I think he may have been justified in dumping his former partner. What do you think?

      •  For men (4.00)
        if you're going to have sex, and you don't want any chance of becoming a father, you wear a condom or you get snipped.

        Giving a man any sayso in whether a woman has an abortion won't work. That decision is entirely the woman's. But once she decides to bear the child, each parent owes a legal and moral obligation to support it, and the mere fact that the father had no veto power over the pregnancy, or was defrauded as the father in your story appears to have been, cannot outweigh the support obligation.

        1. Don't screw;
        2. Wear a condom; or
        3. Get snipped.
        •  I think this lets her off the hook. (none)
          What you say is definitely true, but if this woman intentionally deceived her partner in order to get pregnant, I think she bears a larger share of the responsibility.  If she had been honest with him, she wouldn't be pregnant.

          This is such a difficult issue.  I'm so glad we are discussing it.

        •  That's a bit of an oversimplification (none)
          If you are going to have sex, you have to admit to yourself that no matter what you do, there is a chance that you will become a father. No form of birth control is perfect.

          I agree that in the end it has to be the woman's choice, but I was glad to read plymouth's post. As a guy, I want to feel that my opinion is getting weighed in there somewhere. Especially given the monetary and legal consequences for accidental fathers these days (child support, etc.), it seems a little unfair to deny him any say whatesoever.

          •  To you and toastman (none)
            This has all been thoroughly hashed out in the public policy debates that govern paternity and child support obligations, but it boils down to this. The two people who create the child are obliged to support it, regardless of possible treachery. The child didn't ask to be born. If birth control treachery were allowed to be considered in support questions, you can be damn sure that the argument will be raised over and over and over again. There is quite enough shit that gets slung in family court already.
      •  One word for guys like that- (none)
        Vasectomy.

        Why would you force your girlfriend to stay on hormonal drugs for years and years, have to take a pill every day, or shot, IUD, or implant, when five minutes in the doctors office would end the conversation forever?  

        He left open the possibility, so she went for it.

        He didn't do it, because deep down he knew she would leave.

        •  good advice, but... (none)
          ...i don't think the post said the woman was "forced" to take birth control pills.

          "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

          by jethropalerobber on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:31:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you're right- (none)
            she should have left him to begin with.

            Not to be a pain, I just think in the course of relationships, at least the kind that tend to drag on aimlessly, the birth control issue is one that can easily be remedied if one decides never to ever have children.

            It used to be that women could not get a tubal ligation unless they already had a child, or some other good reason, like a genetic defect in the family, somehow that got changed.

            •  Actually, no.... (none)
              It has not been changed.  I have known many friends who chose not to have children and who in their early thirties were stlil trying to get a tubal ligation because doctors were turning them away saying they wouldn't do the procedure unless they had already had kids, because of course they'd change their mind.  It's not an easy thing still to get a tubal ligation by choice unless you are 30+ with 2+ children.

              Thankfully, my having almost died several times in the past few years from my serious chronic medical problems has enabled me to get the pity of a doctor who will be doing the procedure at age 24 two weeks from now.  There was a state mandated 30 day waiting period too, whereas it's only a 24 hour waiting period for men.  Because men obviously are more trusted to make decisions than women.

        •  If he got the vasectomy without consulting (none)
          her and she got angry about it and left.  Who would be the party at fault in this hypothetical breakup.

          We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

          by delver rootnose on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:13:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No (none)
        The issue is not a question of the father's rights or the mother's rights, but the rights of the child, who deserves support from both parents, no matter what either may have done.

        An area of law that I have not seen sufficiently explored is whether the father has extended rights against the mother for a breach or tort, but this has no impact on the child's right to be supported by the father.

        The only circumstance that would allow the man to walk away is if he can prove that he's not the child's father.

        •  there have been cases where a man. (none)
          who thinks the child is biologically his and later finds out that this is inaccurate still has to pay child support because he is the father by virtue of raising the child for a long period of time.

          We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

          by delver rootnose on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:15:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  huh (none)
        I dunno.  It's not good to stay in a loveless relationship.  So on the abstract level if a guy honestly believed he felt lied and manipulated into a pregnancy and the love fell away, then the pregnancy shouldn't mean he'd be trapped in a loveless relationship.  

        It still means he'd have a responsibility to the child though, and it still means he'd have to integrate his own lack of responsibility (that resulted in the pregnancy) into his self.

        Politology.US - Politics and Technology in the United States

        by tunesmith on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:23:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I side with the guy (none)
        In this instance, it sounds likely that the man was, er, blindsided deliberately. Of course, it is possible this was unintentional - but the amount of childless time before it, and the coincidental feelings of the woman, seem rather suspect. I would be mad as hell, were I that man.

        It is great that he can get past his anger and reach out as a father - good for the child, and good for him as well. Since he did have the sex, he is morally and legally obligated for the financial part - it is really shitty if she tricked him, but birth control also fails on it's own, so to speak, and in that instance, is not the man still liable for the outcome of that instance of sex?

        I don't blame him for breaking it off, or avoiding her...deliberately tricking anyone into parenthood is abominable, and beneath contempt. I'm glad the the little girl is not suffering, and hope that all works out well for them.

    •  I'd like to see this statement tattooed (3.75)
      on every man's body where it would catch their attention at the right moment.
      "If you don't trust this woman to make the abortion decision then you shouldn't be engaging in behaviors with her that might force her to make that kind of decision."

      Yeah, that would smart, but would it hurt more than childbirth or an abortion procedure?

      When given the opportunity I will rant loudly about the fact that men will happily deposit sperm into a woman they wouldn't trust to share their checking account. WTF?

      •  How about.. (none)
        "If you don't trust this man to contribute equally to a decision about whether or not to raise your child, you shouldn't be having sex with him"?

        It's not a one-way street.

        •  Hell, not even equally.. (none)
          Just some.

          (sorry for the self-reply, but it just occurred to me that I'm not even advocating equal participation... just acknowledgement that we have a legitimate place in the conversation.)

        •  My suggestion (none)
          is directed at men who will have to support a child they didn't want or who will mourn the abortion of a child they did want. It's a reminder that life isn't fair, so watch out!
          •  I'll self-reply back to add more too (none)
            The truth is, men do lose control once the sex act is over. Even if they made abortion illegal in America, lots of abortions would be performed. If a man doesn't know the woman well, she could disappear for ten years and turn up with the child and a paternity suit the day he announces that he's running for mayor.  
            •  An analogy.. (none)
              I know it's not a perfect analogy, but I just want to try to express my unease with this "you can't touch this" attitude that some women have about men and abortion: If a man were the sole wage-earner in a household and he said "you don't get to have any say in how we spend our money because you're always home and you don't work", how would you respond?

              Again, I know it's an imperfect analogy, but it points at a relevant issue.

              The most difficult part of the "you have no say" attitude, though, is that it discourages us from wanting to.  My telling us we're not allowed to participate in the child-bearing decision, you, implicitly, tell us that we're not good fathers and that we don't care about the child.  I reject that.

              •  Another self reply :) (none)
                By "I reject that" I mean I reject the idea that I'm not permitted to care about the woman or the child or the family, not that I reject your comment.  I appreciate your responses to me, and I hope our community can keep having this conversation in a civil manner.
                •  I think we may be addressing different issues (none)
                  Two people in a loving, committed relationship are going to struggle to a decision together. The relationship itself may well be the main consideration, rather than the pregnancy. The man or the woman may choose to sacrifice his/her wishes to preserve the relationship. Or one of them may choose to sacrifice the relationship to the goal of either avoiding parenthood or embracing it. But it will be an open conflict, and both will be honest in confronting the dilemma. I assume that in this situation both the man and woman know each other well, and have confidence in each other's good faith. No reminding tattoos are required.

                  I'm talking about the zipless fuck, where the guy is mindlessly following his gonads into pleasure. He is simply insane if he is going ahead with sex with the attitude that he cares about the child that could result. He has no idea what the woman will do if she gets pregnant, and no idea how he will feel about it, or what he will do about it, or what kind of parent she will be. Or whether she will take vitamins and avoid drugs and alcohol during the pregnancy. He is not thinking; he is acting on the most primitive instinct to spread his sperm.

                  Men need to stop doing that if they are going to claim a right to care about the results of intercourse. They need to read that tattoo and stop, if they will be devastated by forced parenthood or the abortion of their potential child.  

                  I have both a daughter and a son. Realistically, in 21st century America, as a member of the middle-class, my daughter has more choices in regard to her reproductive functions than my son. She has more opportunities to second-guess her actions than he does. I would be doing my son no favor if I failed to make this clear to him. If he gets into a relationship, to some extent he is at the mercy of his girlfriend/wife.

                  Believe me, I'm 100% behind my daughter's right to choose whether her body is used to bring a baby into the world. I'm not telling anyone she has to go through pregnancy and birth.

                  I'm also saying, watch out guys.

              •  And I quote (none)
                From my original comment on this topic:

                I would take his advice into consideration and I would value it highly but in the end it WOULD be my decision.

                How is that "not any say"? How else can it possibly be done other than to accept advice and either follow it or not? In the end if people disagree only one outcome happens. And that outcome has to be decided by the person whose body it DIRECTLY affects.

                I don't sleep with pro-life men. Period. End of story.

        •  What do you mean "contribute"? (none)
          One doesn't "contribute" to a decision - a decision gets made. One person makes it. The other can advise all they want but in the end one person makes it. If two people agree there's no argument, if they disagree then one persons opinion rules the day. I do my best to only sleep with people I believe would make the same decision I would.

          And the issue isn't raising children, which obviously can be done by more than one person - it's growing it, which only one person can do.

          •  Yes, contribute. (none)
            First, I "contribute" money to the Democratic Party even though I don't agree with every person who calls himself or herself a Democrat.  I "contribute" to the direction of my country by voting for politicians I believe in, and then holding those politicians accountable when they make decisions that are contrary to my core beliefs.  And, yes, I would expect to "contribute" my thoughts to a discussion about whether or not my mate should have an abortion involving something that's half me.  (Note that I would probably support my mate under almost any circumstances you could imagine, but your blanket exclusion of my participation is disturbing.)

            Second, "The other can advise all they want but in the end one person makes [the decision]."  Which side were you on in the filibuster debate?  Do you believe that people who have no actual power should be excluded from all debates, or just debates affecting your body?  If I were to get cancer and I decided that I didn't want to go through treatment because I didn't want to live with the pain, would you expect my spouse to have a say in that decision?

            Third, I could make the argument that growing takes 9 months, but living takes a lifetime, and it's a shame to make a decision on a 70-year potential life based on 9 months of gestation.  Again, I'm not anti-choice, but that argument's got no legs.

            •  Let me repeat what I actally said (none)
              I would take his advice into consideration and I would value it highly but in the end it WOULD be my decision.

              moving on...

              Which side were you on in the filibuster debate?

              Oh, brilliant analogy. Just brilliant. You do NOT want to go there. Because where there leads is to stalling on allowing women to have abortions until it is too late and they have passed into the third trimester.

      •  so women have the right... (none)
        ...to sidestep the consequences of recreational sex, but men do not?

        is that your take?

        "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

        by jethropalerobber on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:38:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Men have exactly the same rights... (4.00)
          as women.  The right to control their own body.  

          For a male, controlling his own body means controlling his sperm deposit.  Once his sperm leaves his body, it's out of his control.  

          It doesn't get much simpler than that.  

          •  How about the right to control my own future? (none)
            The decision whether or not to have an abortion will affect both people involved for the rest of their lives. The responsibility to make the choice falls on both their shoulders.

            It is entirely unfair to say that women are the only ones who have any say about reproduction. True, women have been denied any control at all for an awful long time, and I can see why they are so jealous of it now--but that is no reason to go off the other end of the spectrum. Rebounds have a tendency of creating more rebounds.

            There is a balance of responsibility here. It is tipped towards women, but it is not tipped so far that there is no room for male opinion.

            •  There's room for any opinion... (none)
              ..that the woman chooses to entertain.    
              Anybody can have an opinion, but the decision belongs to only one person.  The one who owns the body is the one who owns all decisions about her body.  
               
  •  Common ground with pro-lifers (4.00)
    You wouldn't know it, but I'm a strong defender of abortion rights. I'm also someone who wants to build a bigger tent in the Democratic party. There are lots of people who are against abortion, but are still strong supporters of choice. John Kerry comes to mind. Harry Reid is another.

    I could drop the personhood argument on them -- that a wad of cells is not a person, and neither is someone with their brain severed from their body. I definitely believe these to be true. But because it's such an emotional issue, saying someone is "not a person" is rhetoric that provokes a lot of negative feelings.

    I could drop the autonomy argument on them -- that if a man found a way to crawl inside a woman's womb and live there, the woman would have the right to kick him out, even if it meant his death. To me, this makes perfect sense. But there are some people who will protect all life without hypocrisy -- who are against the death penalty and iraq war as much as they're against abortion.

    I could drop the economic argument on them -- that if a person is having a hard enough time taking care of themselves, that society doesn't need two peoples' lives ruined, that it does no service for the individuals OR the community to force someone to have a baby. I definitely think forced pregnancy is a horror and an injustice. But a lot of people are reluctant to look at life in terms of dollars and cents, producers and dependents.

    The real point is you will never convince people to swap sides on the abortion issue.

    With that, we should stop arguing and try to find common ground. Hillary Clinton (who I'm not a fan of by any stretch of the imagination) came out and talked about programs to prevent abortions, rather than laws. Sex education. Living wages. Health care. Social assistance. Because abortion is NOT a principle of all democrats, she manages to defend choice by tying it to our principles of economic justice and fairness.

    It's win win. We protect choice. We get economic justice. We keep government out of the bedroom. AND we let some pro-lifers in, and keep anti-choicers out. (Note the distinction.)

    Some people will see this as conceding the abortion debate.

    I see this as dodging a futile debate that can't even be resolved on a near-exclusive Liberal-Democratic blog, and letting more than one side into the Democratic party's big tent.

    •  Damn. (none)
      I've been trying to find the right words to say that for the last two months. Thanks.
    •  I like your post but... (none)
      The real point is you will never convince people to swap sides on the abortion issue.

      I disagree here.  I think some minds have been changed by the diaries of the past couple of days.  If not completely changed, at least some people are viewing the issue differently, having heard a few impassioned and articulate opinions.

      I venture a guess that most people don't think about abortion much - they have a kneejerk reaction depending on the way the issue is presented: "Are you in favor of killing perfectly healthy babies a day before their due date?" "Huh?  Hell no!" "Well then, you must be against abortion." Etc.  I believe that we can reach a lot of people if we frame the discussion intelligently and express ourselves well.

      *Springsteen for President*

      by hrh on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:10:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Swap Sides vs. View Differently (none)
        I think you might be able to get someone to recognize that life is everywhere, and that it's really a question of personhood. I think you might be able to get someone who objects on religious grounds to say "well if you don't believe in the bible, you still have to believe that killing somebody is wrong". I even think that in extremely rare cases, people cross the line from saying "I think abortions should be free in most cases" to "I think abortions should be rare, and probably illegal in most cases", or vice versa.

        But swapping sides is something different. Not to mention that people who seem to make any slides at all often do so because of intensely personal conversations and personal incidents.

        Expecting anyone -- be it Hillary Clinton or Howard Dean -- to be able to go on a stage and convince three people in the audience that abortion is morally permissible is just not reasonable. They can't do that.

        What we can expect them to do is get someone who is against abortion to come on our side anyway, because they agree with more of our principles. "I hate abortions, but I agree that we need reality-based sex education in our schools." Or "I hate abortions, but I don't think the government should be poking it's nose in everyone's business." Or even "I hate abortion, but the GOP is plain corrupt and full of meaningless words."

        •  I think part of that, though... (none)
          ...involves not turning them completely off with abortion rhetoric. I don't think that means not vigorously defending the idea that abortion should remain legal. I think it means defending it in a way which is more sensitive to the kind of concerns that make people concerned about abortion.

          We will, as you say, convince very few, if any, with even the best rhetoric. But we can do better than turning them away. And avoiding the issue doesn't work, its lets the Republicans frame it and provide the only context in the marketplace in which people view it.

          •  I agree with you (none)
            I think we should defend abortion rights with strength but sensitivity. Just because we'll never cave in means we have to be jerks about it.

            But the key to fighting the Republican rhetoric is to reframe the debate. Not about "is abortion right or wrong?" but "what can we do about unwanted pregnancy in this country?" Republicans will retreat to conservative positions like prayer in schools and invading personal freedoms. And we will focus on improving the education system, our economy, and our social safety net.

            And in the end, I think the people who have mixed views on abortions will be more likely to side with us than with the republican "big brother" approach.

    •  saying someone is "not a person"... (none)
      ...when they're a pre-viable fetus faces not just emotional challenges, but some logical ones as well.  

      i know you're not looking for an argument - i'm just saying is all.

      "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

      by jethropalerobber on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:48:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, you're right (none)
        There's no air tight universally agreed idea of what a person is.

        Do you have to be able to walk and talk to be a person? Are babies persons? Are chimps persons? Are the physically challenged persons? Are the mentally challenged persons?

        I know it's a Republican thing to make stupid comparisons between abortion and other issues... but saying "we can eliminate so and so because they're not actually a person" isn't exactly new rhetoric, as much as I'll try to insist that this is a case where the rhetoric is actually true. The language is eerily similar to that of human rights abusers.

  •  Nice work (none)
    A man's perspective on the issue is important -- and of course is not nearly as much of a liability for pro-choice politics as some people believe.  Keep in mind that the 30-year public opinion trend line is that there really isn't a gender gap on the abortion issue -- and that, when there is, men are ever-so-slightly more pro-choice than women, on average.  (See Fiorina's "Culture War?" for some nice charts)
  •  Appreciate your candor (none)
    and the acknowledgement that our society makes it necessary for women to be the final decision-maker when it comes to abortion. Whether it is due to tradition, religion, biology or all of the above, there is just too much history of pregnancy being used as a method of controlling women.

    "Help us to save free conscience from the paw -- Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw." --John Milton

    by ohiolibrarian on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:13:47 AM PDT

  •  For JAV and anna (4.00)
    the results of a google search for you, if you are interested.
    JAV thanks for your eloquent diary.  Recommended.
    YOur relationship is an inspiration.  Good thoughts for both of you.

    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=RNWE,RNWE:2004-50,RNWE:en&q =vasectomy+reversal

    •  thanks much (none)
      i appreciate your kind words, and JAV will be checking in later so i'm sure he'll say the same.

      and yea, we are looking into both VR and adoption. VR is about 8-10K and the best VR places are only a four hour drive from us in houston.  plus his procedure was relatively recent so our chances should be real good for reversal and getting pregnant. believe me i have looked into that option quite a bit lately. i was real resistant to the idea of giving birth (i have my reasons, too detailed to go into here) but i think JAV's worn me down. ;)  

      "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

      by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:20:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  FWIW (none)
        I had a vasectomy in 1988 and a successful reversal in 1994. The vas deferens is now closed off again, as the surgeon warned it would be.

        How to pick your surgeon: if you know a surgical nurse in a hospital, ask him or her.

        •  asdf (none)
          if you don't know a surgical nurse, ask an MD who he had perform his ...
          •  thank you (none)
            good advice from you both.  anything else you could offer in the way of advice in picking a good reversal doc would really be appreciated.  but of course, if it's too personal to go there  in public, don't worry about it.

            "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

            by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:11:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  no personal experience there ... (none)
              ... but a real key to getting top-shelf medical care is to worm your way into the very private world of peer review ... always prefer to see a doctors' doctor if you can find a way ... the pros have the real skinny on who's got skills ...
  •  Adopt (4.00)
    You said that you would like a child now that you are 30, and unable.  Have you thought about adopting a child from a young woman who isn't ready to raise a child?  I think Adoption is one of the most noble things a person can do.

    Politically, I think Democrats need to show America that we are genuine when we say that we want to reduce the number of abortions without outlawing it.  Half of that is Birth control, the other half is providing options, of which Adoption is one.  I think adoption is something that we need to present as an equal option to women considering abortions.  If they decide to have the abortion, their choice shouldn't be prevented, but there is nothing wrong with presenting the option of Adoption.

    •  oh totally (none)
      i am actually 100000% in favor of adoption. i would rather do that than give birth, to be quite honest. but there are some things that you do for the person you love, and if JAV wants to have a kid via natural means that is something i am willing to do because it's so important to him and i love him and want to see him happy in life.  maybe after the live birth we will go the adoption route.  but if VR doesn't work then it's adoption all the way (i have looked into adoption for at least a year now).

      "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

      by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:35:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Do you think there are women (none)
      who don't know they can put a child up for adoption?
      I think women are all aware of this option.

      Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

      by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:38:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Too high a price (none)
      Adoption to the young mother in question is a high price to pay.
    •  Some things about adoption (4.00)
      As the father of two kids, both of whom are adopted, there are a couple of responses that I have with regard to your post:

      "I think Adoption is one of the most noble things a person can do."

      I doubt very much that you meant this to be condescending, but sometimes that attitude is carried within those kinds of words. Other variants include - "She's lucky that you adopted her," and "That's such a nice thing for you to do."

      I honestly don't want to dissect your comments with tweezers, because as I said I expect that you said them in a positive spirit.

      But I think that if you ask just about any adoptive parent why they did so, they'll just tell you, "This was how we were able to build our family."

      It's no more, or less, noble than the traditional route (or the techology-assisted one) of conceiving and delivering. It's also no more, or less, selfish than those other ways.

      People have kids because they want to be parents. I know we did, anyway.

      Regarding the process of adoption, from either side:

      Surrendering a child for adoption has got to be the most gut-wrenching decision that any woman could make. Whether a decision to abort is easier, harder, or the same - I can't pretend to even know.

      But any woman (most often, it's just the woman involved - very few couples actively participate in the decision, though I believe that every state does require that both birth parents sign the documents surrendering the child) who's looking at adoption as an option is going to need very expert and intense counseling - though many don't get it.

      My wife worked as a birthparent counselor for many years. Her approach was not to advocate one way or the other (keep or surrender) - that quickly becomes coercive.

      Rather, her role was to help guide the birth mother to a decision, and to help that woman make her decision in the context of what she honestly believed was in the best interest of the baby.

      Adoption is easily as expensive as technology-assisted conception, and perhaps even more so. Sadly, a lot is based on market economics, with white infants commanding a premium.

      The larger and better-staffed agencies also have a variety of overseas programs, with children available from Asia, Central America, and Eastern Europe, among others.

      Also, state regulations vary widely, with some states being so lax that little, if any, counseling and social work support takes place; rather, the entire process is handled as an attorney-mediated transaction - not the way to go, IMO.

      Finally, I don't know if it's accurate or possible to say that adoption can be "an equal option to women considering abortions." At the very least, a woman who is considering adoption is going to need some level of medical support and counseling throughout gestation through to the delivery.

      Anyway, I don't mean to pick on you or your comments so much as I just wanted to add my two cents upon hearing the word "adoption."

      "...psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of...politics, law enforcement, (and) government." Dr. Robert Hare

      by RubDMC on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:02:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know nothing (none)
        I'll admit, I really know next to nothing about adoption, or anything related to starting a family for that matter.  I am, in no way, an expert relating to anything involved with adoption, or any other method of starting a family for that matter.  

        I did not intend my comment regarding the nobility of Adoption to be condescending in any way.  I do have enormous respect for all parties involved in adoption.  

        That being said, the replies to my comment seem to be somewhat lukewarm on the idea of Adoption as an alternative to abortion.  I should state that I am personally opposed to abortion, but I'm not in favor of making it illegal.  My wish for the abortion debate is that we as a society can find a way to reduce abortions to the point where they are so rare that the issue is eliminated entirely.  I think Adoption is a component in this goal.

        Like I said, I know nothing about the logistics of the process, nor the emotions accompanying the adoption process.  All I know is that I want to see practical solutions that help reduce abortions to the point that they are rare.

        •  I think that... (none)
          your goal ("find a way to reduce abortions") is a very worthwhile one, and I personally share it with you.

          I also appreciate and respect your views of personal opposition to abortion as well as your unwillingness to make it illegal for others.

          It's a hard topic that cuts very deep. Like the diarist I'm physiologically unable to conceive or give birth - I'm a guy - so a lot of what I personally feel is that I don't have as much to say about it as a woman.

          I also agree with you that adoption can be a worthwile option for some - my points were just that adoption has a lot of its own deep and serious issues associated with it; sometimes folks advocating for an end to abortion overlook those difficulties.

          "...psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of...politics, law enforcement, (and) government." Dr. Robert Hare

          by RubDMC on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 05:33:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  How about (none)
      Financial assistance to the young woman in question.. It can be in small part financed with the $10k adoption tax  credit available even if the adoption is of a healthy new born.

      It is obvious you have not been the adoption route as a young mother.

      I do not think too many young women suffering through the pain of giving up a child consider themselves "noble".

      •  if they don't, they should (none)
        btw, i only know one person close to me who gave up a child for adoption and she certainly considered it noble, and so did i, and i don't think it stigmatizes people who make a different choice just to say so.

        "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity" -Yeats

        by jethropalerobber on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 04:06:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  this stuff... (1.00)
    ... went over big in the 70s and 80s. Phil Donohue made a great living with this sort of sensitive male stuff. Alan Alda too.

    I'm sorry. I don't see how this sort of sentimentalism forwards the conversation except to allow us all a moment to say... "awww what a sweet guy."  "what a poor conflicted man," "look, see how confused this issue makes those horny guys... it's such a curse to have a penis."

    this is a sob story. and not a terribly compelling sob story. in the end you've managed to take a subject as sad and difficult as abortion and make it about yourself.

    now THAT's impressive.

    if everywhere you go smells like dogsh*t, you should probably check your own shoes.

    by monsterofNone on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:38:05 AM PDT

    •  you can kiss my ass. (3.87)
      i'd troll rate you, but i'd rather that your comment doesn't get hidden so everyone can see what an ignorant fucking prick you are.  i will bet money that you would never have the balls to say that to my or my husband's face.

      this isn't about a sob story, shit-for-brains. it's about getting a man's perspective out there because you just don't read about this very often.  

      and nobody who has ever been through this would write such a shitty comment. you obviously have not had the life experience of going through an unwanted pregnancy. how do i know?  because nobody who's been there done that would ever say anything shitty to another person who's been there.

      you are a fucking prick.  please proceed straight to hell.

      "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

      by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:46:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  An aside, but... (4.00)
        ...this kind of thinking always bothers me:

        how do i know?  because nobody who's been there done that would ever say anything shitty to another person who's been there.

        It is incredibly arrogant to say that everyone who has a certain experience would respond to it the same way. People say these things about growing up a certain race, go through abortion or rape or being sexually or otherwise abused as a child, and its wrong every time.

        People aren't the same, and they don't respond to things the same, and, yes, they are, too often (even if its not, by far, the majority response) insensitive or disdainful to other people who have been through the same trauma they have been through.

        •  you are absolutely right (4.00)
          i should not have much such a sweeping generalisation and i apologise. thanks for keeping me honest.

          "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

          by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:51:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I probably went a bit overboard... (4.00)
            ...in calling it "incredibly arrogant", though. Overly broad generalizations of the type seem to be human nature -- what we do best is generalizing from our experience.

            While often useful and necessary, its important still to keep an eye on it.

            •  no worries at all (none)
              you were completely right and like i said, i'm grateful to your for keeping me honest. thanks, bro/sis (sorry, don't know which one you are!).

              "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

              by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:00:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  If you can find one abortion story (4.00)
      that isn't about ourselves, well, then, you're the man.  Because it's always about the people living it.  That's why it's sad and difficult.

      Sheesh.

      "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

      by escapee on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:02:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You sir (3.66)
      are a fucking imbecile. Phil Donahue? Alan Alda? Is that around the time you lost your TV priveleges in prison? There have been some developments in the area of male sensitivity since then. Schmuck.

      You know, it's easy to mock and cast aspersions from afar. It's easy to be callous in the safety of your mom's converted garage. I question whether indeed you do think abortion is "sad and difficult" because if you did, you certainly wouldn't have been capable of the kind of callous, taunting put down you ended up writing.

      Word to the wise: Never reply to comments while jonesing for your next hit of crystal meth. If this is your idea of "forwarding the conversation" then you're not much of a conversationalist yourself.

      As for the poopie joke in your sig line, physician, heal thyself.

    •  There is a difference between... (none)
      bluster and strength of character...
    •  IF you ever get a life (none)
      write and let us know, would you? Why on earth would you judge this person's experience? Interesting to see some presume you're a man, I presumed you were a woman.

      I see your bio says: "quiet budhist interactive designer works to pay his bills". Interesting self-description... since "Buddhist" isn't spelled right.

      Reframing the news and people's views of our world: HeroicStories.com, free subscriptions.

      by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Jun 15, 2005 at 07:40:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  bullshit (none)
    "We men seem to forget a lot of things when we get horny. Rarely does pregnancy come into mind, unless it's how to prevent one... No, we are more concerned with how it will feel to have an orgasm. The creation of life part rarely is given any real concern."

    speak for yourself.

  •  Some good points, and some bad (4.00)
    I realize this is your point of view, but I disagree with some of the stuff in it.

    In an ideal sitch - a rare occurance it seems - men DO have a say in the procedure. It's called having a relationship. If I had to go through that, there's no way in hell I wouldn't be talking about it with my husband, listening to and taking into consideration his point of view, etc. Of course, we have a good relationship, and we've already discussed what we might do in that case. We're in agreement, and even if we weren't, his voice would have a lot of weight with me.

    However, that's the nature of a good relationship, not his right as seedbearer. We're together through thick and thin for all sorts of crisises.

    About Women should not have to "fear" getting pregnant: first, you're making lots of generalizations here. I suppose I am a little afraid of my contraception failing, and producing a pregnancy despite how careful we are. However, I don't fear getting pregnant. I know there are options (at least, for now) in whether or not I have the child, etc. I would only fear getting pregnant if those options are closed to women.

    I like what you said here: What, only men can work and only women can stay home? How true is that? One of the discussions we had when we first started dating was about kids, who would stay home, etc. We decided if were would decide to have kids, one of us would stay home - not neccessarily me. But I do believe that it's best to have one stay-at-home parent, for the child, at least in the first 5-6 years. Not that both parents working makes it impossible to raise a child; but it makes it so much harder. Witness the children whose parents give them material gifts because they feel guilty over working so much - and we end up with selfish, spoiled children. (This is happening to my cousin.)

    Finally, reproductive rights are more than about pregnancy and health. It's about autonomy, an autonomy that our mothers and grandmothers and their forebearers fought so hard to get us. It's an autonomy that flies in the face of thousands of years as second-class citizens. It's an autonomy that some people in this country, and definitely the world, still fear. It's an autonomy they would gladly take away from us. Therefore, I'm OK with abortion being "a women's issue." It is one. It's a crucial one even. If it goes, with it goes our hopes for true equality and eventually, gender-blindness.

    •  You need to meet some more parents (4.00)
      I agree with most of your post, but your characterization of parents who don't stay home having to buy their children's love is off base.

      Parents who choose to work (or in most cases who HAVE to work) are no less loving than parents who stay home. Being at home does not make you a good parent.

      1984: Orwell wrote a cautionary tale. George Bush mistook it for a manifesto.

      by mungley on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:13:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have to work (4.00)
        because if I stayed home taking care of my toddlers, they'd not live to see puberty!

        Really.  I leave toddler day care to professionals.  It keeps me a sane mother.

        We women are not all equally gifted nurturers of all stages of life.  We need a variety of child care options and support strategies.

        I feel the same way about home schooling.  You really don't want me teaching my own kids.  I'm not that organized or patient.

        I love my kids and enjoy raising them.  But 24/7 contact with them is highly overrated and doesn't always provide value added.  I believe my little sweeties are enriched by their time with grandparents and wonderful child care providers.  Would that all moms had those options.

  •  Been there (none)
    I had a similar experience about four years ago.  And while my memories of sitting in that waiting room are eerily similar, there was one moment I found particularly striking.

    Another woman had come in with her boyfriend (I know this because she mentioned it to the nurse).  When the boyfriend went outside to take a call on his cell phone, the woman went up to the front desk and asked if it were possible for her current boyfriend to remain ignorant of the four previous abortions she had had at that facility.

    It's a two-way street.  Women can be every bit as selfish and make decisions just as badly as we men can.

    "Give the likes of Baldric the vote and we'll be back to cavorting Druids and dung for dinner."

    by Magnus Greel on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 11:59:06 AM PDT

    •  that sucks (none)
      don't know what to say to that.  it just makes me sad.

      "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

      by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:01:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  but if those (none)
      previous abortions were the result of sex with a different partner than her current one, it's not at all selfish to keep that from him. It's none of his business.
      •  Oy! (none)
        I suppose you're right, but man...to me it's not so much that she wanted to keep previous abortions private, but that fact that she hid it four times and was on her fifth, well, gawd.

        You'd think she would have learned after the first time.  Jesus, I'll never understand some human behavior.

      •  5th Abortion?? (none)
        Yeah, it's not the current b/f's business ... but the woman probably needs some serious counselling ... Dobson wants her picture for a WANTED poster ...
        •  Whether it's his business or not (none)
          I suppose what really turned my stomach was the way she said it, almost as if she was adding something to an order at Wendy's.  I also think that if privacy were such a concern of hers, she wouldn't have let EVERYBODY ELSE IN THE DAMNED WAITING ROOM HEAR IT.

          I am absolutely pro-choice but I don't believe it should be used so casually as a regular form of birth control.  When people use abortion in such a way, they only give fodder to the anti-choice nazis and their campaign to win over middle America.

          "Give the likes of Baldric the vote and we'll be back to cavorting Druids and dung for dinner."

          by Magnus Greel on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:46:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  5 abortions. (4.00)
          I will not name her, but someone I love with all my heart had 5 abortions. For some reason, no form of birth control worked consistently for her. And she couldn't get a doctor to give her a tubal ligation.

          She got pregnant for the FIFTH time, and aborted, in her mid-thirties. She NEVER wanted to have children -- something that stemmed from her wretched childhood and observation of MY wretched childhood (she was 15 when I was born).

          She got her tubal ligation; the relief was enormous. She doesn't regret the 5 abortions; she regrets that she wasn't listened to the FIRST FOUR TIMES when she said she didn't want kids. Had she been LISTENED to and BELIEVED, those 5 abortions would have been unnecessary.

          But for some reason those darned doctors just don't BELIEVE a young woman in her early twenties when she says she wants her tubes tied.

          I never wanted children, either. Had an abortion at 19, a miscarriage that had to be "finished" with an abortion at 24, got pregnant at 30 and just couldn't face another abortion (the physical pain, that is). Fortunately, I was deeply in love with Adam and we decided to go for it.

          But come July, when I can change insurance providers (BLUE CROSS DOESN'T COVER TUBAL LIGATIONS OR VASECTOMIES -- but they'll be HAPPY to pay for your abortion -- go fucking figure THAT one out), I'll be having that ligation.

          Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

          by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 06:19:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And, by the by... (4.00)
            In a vacuum, if I didn't know my son and love him more than life, if I could go back to that couch and decide again, I'd have the abortion.

            I am not maternal. Having a baby fucked up my body (to say nothing of my lifestyle, which I was quite enjoying) beyond repair.

            I feel HUGE guilt because I have to FORCE myself to be tactile and loving and gentle and patient with a toddler, when I really just want him to GO AWAY a lot of the time. Talk about feeling like a piece of shit.

            It doesn't come naturally to all of us. I love him so much it hurts, but I'm also unbearably guilt-ridden most of the time for not being a NATURAL WOMAN, you know, all that fucking crap. My GOD -- "Uh huh. That's nice, honey. Oh really? Spongebob said that? Mmm hmmm." I hate it, I really do.

            On the other hand, the older he gets and the better our conversations get, the more I adore him. Conflicted? Uh, yeah.

            Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

            by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 06:41:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Let others help! (none)
              Find other women/men who naturally have a blast with kids. Whether single, or already with kids. Befriend them. They'll LOVE to spend time with your kid! Trust me -- I've been an "aunt" or "second mom" to more kids than I can count, for, ah, at least 2 decades.

              If you have to trade child-care with these moms -- you probly know this, but I can't assume that -- having 2 kids in the house is easier than one. And 3 is easier than one, tho depending on the kids, more or less easier than 2. So if you've not done that much, don't fear it.    

              Having other kids around will give you even 3 minute bursts of ability to think/sit on your own, as they want to talk/play with each other and ditch you, heh!

              My mom was more-or-less like you. She hated being a mom. Didn't network much with other moms. So we were stuck at home with her. She wanted to be back doing her career. Past can't be changed, but we certainly would've benefitted from spending more time in other households than we did.

              Trust me, there are people who go thru life collecting extra or stray kids, who get immense satisfaction from having them around. I can't tell you how much I enjoy having kids around, it's just wonderful. There are often mini-herds of them here.

              Reframing the news and people's views of our world: HeroicStories.com, free subscriptions.

              by AllisonInSeattle on Wed Jun 15, 2005 at 11:42:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  hrmm.... (4.00)
    We men seem to forget a lot of things when we get horny. Rarely does pregnancy come into mind, unless it's how to prevent one, and even that isn't as important as it should be at that moment. No, we are more concerned with how it will feel to have an orgasm. The creation of life part rarely is given any real concern.

    But for a woman, every single time could be that time.

    Why don't men think about this more? Because we are not the ones held responsible in the end. It is too easy for men to simply walk away. After all, she was just a warm body, a receptacle, and any woman would have done.

    The sad reality is that this is a women's issue because men refuse to step up and take responsibility for their actions. She didn't get pregnant on her own, and she shouldn't have to deal with the ramifications alone.  

    Am I the only guy that doesn't feel represented by this viewpoint?  I know there are guys that think like this, but they don't represent what it means to be a man, and the description only serves a narrative that drives the two genders further apart.  I've never been one to believe that empathizing with women means dumping on what it means to be a man.

    First of all, since it does take two people to get a woman pregnant, does the man have any say in what happens? What if the pregnancy is an accident, but the man wants to keep the child if the woman doesn't? Sure she has to carry the child to term, but does the father have any rights? After all, it is his child as well.

    No.  This question has always ticked me off.  No matter how sensitively it's phrased, it always feels like, "Yes, I'll allow for what it means to be a woman with child, BUT... I shall now completely ignore what it means to be a woman with child."

    Politology.US - Politics and Technology in the United States

    by tunesmith on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:20:31 PM PDT

    •  The horny comment ticks me off (4.00)
      It just plays into the idea that men are controlled by their penis, that all we want is sex, that we "trick" women into having sex, women are passive participants in sex, etc.

      It takes two to tango - and that includes the woman.  You could just as easily say the woman let her horniness get in the way of thinking ahead.

      Unplanned pregnancies happen for the most part because BOTH partners decide to forgo contraception.  You don't want to get pregnant, then slap a jimmy hat on that shit.  Better yet, she goes on the pill AND he slaps a jimmy hat on that shit.

      PolisPundit - An Agenda for a New Liberalism

      by goblue72 on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:43:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What's weird is... (4.00)
      ...that it seems to me the author of the diary is painting "we men" with the irresponsibility brush, when he himself is clearly one of the guys who stuck around, cared about what happened to his partner, and so on.

      Heck, I know there are lots of guys who would bail on a woman in this situation, but it's not a MAN thing.  It's a SELFISH SHITHEAD thing.  I'd like to think that none of the guys I consider friends would ever dream of treating a woman like that.  I mean, I've been known to show some selfishness sometimes (just like I'm sure everyone has), but I draw the line far, far short of the point at which the author seems to think the average guy does.  And I think most of the people I associate with have a similar sense of right and wrong.

      But there are enough selfish shitheads in the world that every woman is going to encounter lots and lots of them in her life.  Many of them are good at hiding their true nature, too, so they can appear like upstanding guys until something like this happens.  And it's guys like that that give a bad name to the rest of us who genuinely try to be good people.

      I absolutely agree with tunesmith's point that "the description only serves a narrative that drives the two genders further apart."  What we need is for good people of both genders to stand up against the shitheads.  And it just so happens that there are a lot more men who are in a position to really screw things up for a woman than there are women who are in a position to do the same to a man -- so most of the shitheads we'll be standing up against are men.

      I don't have time to read over what I just wrote, so hopefully it's not too rambly.

    •  tunesmith, go blue... (none)
      hey i'm going to make sure JAV sees your comments and responds to them. when he wrote this, i knew he was going to catch a bit of crap for the general statements.  i know he didn't mean to lump everybody together.

      "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

      by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:04:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (none)
        hey, what's "go blue" mean?

        Honestly, I appreciated the rest of the diary and it has a good intent behind it - those particular parts just jumped out as me is all.

        Politology.US - Politics and Technology in the United States

        by tunesmith on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:05:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  oh (none)
          I get it.  go blue is another member.  heh

          Politology.US - Politics and Technology in the United States

          by tunesmith on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:06:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yea sorry (none)
            i kinda replied to you both with one comment.  =)

            i am going to make sure he reads your comments though.  he is really going to freak when he gets out of class this afternoon and realises he's on the rec list. i'm sure he will have a lot to add based on the comments.

            "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

            by anna on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:15:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  thanks (4.00)
        I think what often gets overlooked in the overheated discussions about abortion is the set of decisions that took place that resulted in a pregnancy.  

        Namely, two consenting adults knocking boots.  Now sometimes pregnancies happen as a result of rape, incest or the like.  But that's a tiny percentage of all unplanned pregnancies.  In the overwhelming number of situations we are talking about two consenting adults (or two consenting teens for that matter.)  And in most of those circumstances I would imagine sex took place without the use of a contraceptive.  

        Often I feel like if everyone in those situations had been responsible and used a condom (or, as I posted a condom AND some other contraceptive like the pill or something else) we'd have a LOT LOT LOT less unplanned pregnancies.  And less unplanned pregnancies means less abortions.  Which is something I would hope everyone (or at least most everyone) could agree would be a good thing.  (I've seen some diaries and postings which seem to celebrate abortions, or at least treat them as something like going to the doctor for some pennicillin, which is just ludicrous.)

        Anyways, sometimes I wish everytime the anti-choicer religious nuts protested abortion, the loud, concerted scream back to them wasn't "Its my body, I'll do what I want" or "We won't go back" but instead was a scream saying "Give me my pill.  Give me my contraceptive.  Give me my morning after.  Stop unplanned pregnancies."

        PolisPundit - An Agenda for a New Liberalism

        by goblue72 on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:50:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Just to clarify..... (none)
      Tunesmith are you saying that a man has no rights in the decision of having an abortion.  Or are you saying a man has no rights to an opinion about abortion. Or both.

      We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

      by delver rootnose on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:40:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for asking (4.00)
        I'm definitely not saying the latter.

        In a loving relationship where it's a joint decision, of course the man's opinion matters, because that's what a relationship is.  But the joint decision means by definition that both people agree it's a joint decision.

        In matters where the woman is certain, the man is certainly entitled to his opinion, but he's got no legal right to affect the woman's decision, and I also believe it to be morally and ethically wrong to seek that legal right.  And wrongheaded and cruel and creepy.

        The subdynamics get down to some pretty fine distinctions, but I think there's a big difference between making it very clear to your mind-made-up partner that you'd like to keep the child, and then making the leap to say "therefore, you should keep the child because I say so".  Sharing your opinion doesn't mean pressuring the woman.

        Some women would take the mere sharing of an opinion as pressure by definition, but that's different and I'd probably just reject that point-of-view out of hand.  Lots of people don't know how to communicate, or how to accept honest attempts at communication.  You just have to work hard at sharing your opinion sensitively and respectively, and the other person has to work hard at receiving that intent.

        Politology.US - Politics and Technology in the United States

        by tunesmith on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:53:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  respectively == respectfully n/t (none)

          Politology.US - Politics and Technology in the United States

          by tunesmith on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:54:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I see your point... (none)
           and agree that ultimately it is the woman's choice and she should not be forced to have a child she does not want.

          Though sometimes I get the feeling from people that support choice strongly that men should have no rights to an opinion at all.  I know that if I got a woman pregnant and I wished her to have the child and she did not I would feel hurt and would be even more hurt if she said I had no right to be hurt.  That type of attitude reinforces the idea that the default position of men in general is to not have the child and I don't think that is true.  

          Granted there are plenty of men who spray their sperm anywhere without forethought.

          We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

          by delver rootnose on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 04:09:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary (4.00)
    Your questions are all valid.
    Some are essentially rhetorical, because we can't have things both ways.

    As a father I'd want to be able to sway my wife's decision to have a child.  Ultimately though, I'm not the one doing it, so I can only offer my opinion and my feelings.  

    This is, of course, one of the most important things a couple should discuss.  Agreement on child bearing is VERY important to a relationship. It doesn't go away, and opinions rarely change.

    Just a thought: I think its part of the social contract that in casual sexual relations the woman wins by default, and that is understood.   I would be insistent though that if a woman chose to tell a man that she was pregnant the social contract would dictate his support of HER needs.

    1984: Orwell wrote a cautionary tale. George Bush mistook it for a manifesto.

    by mungley on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:25:52 PM PDT

  •  BAM101 are you going to post or just give me 1s? (3.33)
    Bam 101 this is not the first time you have followed me around giving me 1s.  What is your motivation?

    Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

    by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:27:05 PM PDT

    •  My answer... (2.38)
      No, I don't follow you around, but I am an avid-reader of abortion-related diaries, and so we often end up in the same space.

      I take my ratings cues from the FAQ link to pastordan's diary.  I have excerpted the following:

      "Ratings reflect an evaluation of behavior, not of agreement.  Users should not give 1s or 0s to comments simply on the basis of disagreeing with another user's perspective.  They should give out 1s for language that is rude, abusive, insulting or otherwise offensive.  This is a self-policing community, and we covenant with one another to make this board a place where all voices can be heard without fear of ridicule, hostility, or overtly hurtful responses."

      And:

      "A 1 is a "troll-rated" comment.  These are comments that are basically devoid of content, add nothing to the conversation, and/or are offensive."

      I give 1s to many of your comments because of the attitude I read in them, which I ^often^ see as offensive by being insulting and rude.  As you and others know, I am certainly not alone in giving out 1s to you.  And I certainly am not here just to give 1s, as the ratings I have given to others will attest.  And, as kid oakland posted in pastordan's diary linked above and Armando (at least I think it was Armando) has also posted at least once in the past- debate or rate, but don't try to do both at the same time.  I choose to rate.

      You may disagree with the rating philosophy I use- diaries about ratings inspire as much argument as anything- but I give you the ratings I give because of your tone and your seemingly consistent belief on this issue that any position other your own has major, if not irreparable flaws.

      Since you asked, I felt I owed you an answer.  

      •  it's OK (none)
        I'll keep giving Teresa 4s, because I find her comments to be apt and accurate.  So you and I will probably cancel each other out :-)

        *Springsteen for President*

        by hrh on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:01:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  ahh I see, you don't like my "attitude" (none)
        The one you "perceive".

        I know a lot of people who don't like women with strong opinions.  That is a lousy excuse to follow me around giving me 1s.  This is not the first time you have done this.

        Tired of the corporate DLC suck ups?WE'VE GOT DEANS BACK

        by TeresaInPa on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:52:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  For me, it's not about strong opinions (none)
          and it has nothing to do with you being a woman.

          Your writing often has a rather condescending tone, whether you realize it or not, and particularly so in diaries related to abortion.

          Now, yes, if people are in fact following you around on here searching for your comments simply to troll-rate them, that is ridiculous and quite a waste of time.

          But from the explanation it sounds like they're doing something similar to what I do, which is whenever I happen to come across a condescending or insulting comment, I give it a 2.  I don't seek them out; I just rate them whenever I read them.

        •  He gave you one 1, and one 2 (4.00)
          in this entire thread. That hardly seems to constitute following you around? In fact, as he says, if you look over his rating page, there seem to be a fair spread of ratings from him. I'd call them overreactions, but you are rather vitriolic at times.
      •  1 rate for every single comment? (none)
        Can't you be more discriminating?
      •  have a 1 from me (4.00)
        for twisting the rules so you can annoy Teresa.
      •  the funny thing is (none)
        you got 4 1s for answering teresa's question.

        there's probably a lesson to be learned there.

      •  I happen to agree with your perception... (4.00)
        (though, to be precise, the 1 is now "unproductive," not "troll").

        However, having been slammed whenever I attempt to disagree, I've chosen to eschew engaging OR rating.

        But since I'm here and saying this much, I'll just  say it: Teresa in PA, while I respect your passion, I find many of your comments offensive and insulting to not only men but any women who see things differently than you do.

        I just don't know what else to say. I don't want to fight or argue, so I've kept it to myself. But that's the way I feel.

        Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

        by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 06:26:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Queen of Irony (4.00)
          I am not unaware of the irony in my criticism of Teresa, as it is undeniable that when I feel passionately about something, I tend to get pretty damned autocratic, spreading my absolute moral certitude around like so much confetti.

          Thus, I must also thank you, T., because it is only in observing my OWN flaws in others that I become truly aware of my hypocrisy -- and am thus enabled in my struggle to become a better person and eliminate (or at least TEMPER) my more glaring personality defects.

          I am being deadly serious -- no snark and no condescension intended.

          Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

          by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 07:09:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Awesome Maryscott (4.00)
            Really, I have always loved loved loved your in your face attitude and voraciously read as much of your writing as I can. However, what I have noted most recently with you is this humility and..dare I say it..grace? You write with an abandon that I only WISH to achieve. Your emotions are so raw and beautifully articulated - gawd if only I could express myself that well!! But mostly I love that you really DO listen to people. That listening thing being so darn crucial in recent weeks in here. So bravo to you for recognizing that irony.

            Can blindly continued fear-induced, regurgitated, life denying traditions be overcome? - Alanis Morissette

            by SanDiegoDem on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:14:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  excellent comment (none)
              you took the words right out of my mouth.

              i <3 maryscott.  and i agree she has shown some "amazing grace" recently.

              "Democrats: Always standing up for what they later realise they should have believed in." -Jon Stewart, the Daily Show

              by anna on Wed Jun 15, 2005 at 06:46:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Happened to me... (4.00)
    16 years ago.  The woman in my life got pregnant...we got pregnant.  I wanted to keep the baby but left it up to her.  If we had that child I would be teaching him/her to drive now.  I still have regrets.  I am against abortion, but a woman MUST have the right to choose.

    "You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan/ Designed and directed by his red right hand" Nick Cave.

    by Mxwll on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:32:52 PM PDT

  •  Replace abortion with education and birth control (3.00)
    Make the morning after pill over-the-counter.
    •  And even if it's by prescription (4.00)
      make sure pharmacists fill it . . . as did not happen to the woman in Milwaukee a few months ago, a mother of five -- who got screamed at by the pharmacists who refused to fill it or return it or transfer it.

      She was so upset (and, I gather, so poor and lacking insurance) that she did not go back to the clinic for a new prescription.  

      She got pregnant, and she got an abortion.

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 06:59:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Replace?" NO. (4.00)
      But I'm with you on the rest of it.

      That goddamned morning-after pill should have been on Rite-Aid shelves 2 years ago. (Okay, TEN years ago, but I'll stick with the FDA committee's recommendation date, or thereabouts).

      Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

      by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 07:10:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  well put, my sentiments exactly: (none)
    So rare that someone can put my thoughts into words on a monitor so well.  Thanks for writing this diary.
  •  If you want a child, adopt one (4.00)
    There are hundreds of thousands of kids in the US and all around the world that need loving homes.  When we found out we couldn't have kids of our own, we adopted a little boy from Korea, still an infant, and he completed our little family.  I urge you to look into this.  It will heal the pain you feel, for sure.

    Peace in a world free of Religion, Peace in a world where everyone gets Heaven... -- Toni Halliday

    by Wintermute on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 12:57:20 PM PDT

    •  Slightly OT (4.00)
      But I couldn't agree with the adoption option more.  As a nearly 38-year old women who had no children of my own (though I do have a live-in stepson), I seem to have missed out on the childbearing gene.  I just never felt the inclination.  My gut-check was always to imagine how I would feel if I found I was pregnant.  The answer has always been "devastated".  I've always felt separated from the vast majority of other women for whom the drive to motherhood comes so naturally.

      As I get older I worry that I will regret this decision.  I console myself, however, with the knowledge that there are so many children out there - not necessarily infants - who I could adopt who would be greatly benefitted (as would I) by adoption.  If my motherhood urge kicks in after it is biologically safe for me to reproduce, I can always adopt and have a serious impact on another life as well as mine.  

      Well put.

      The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution.

      by RenaRF on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:09:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I almost had a similar experience. (4.00)
    A couple of years ago, my ex-girlfriend, who had just started grad school, was several weeks late.  We had been careful, but things happen and we supposed the worst--thankfully, it turned out not to be true.  Naturally, at the time we had to decide what we were going to do about it, and getting the procedure done was the most natural choice.

    We cried.  And cried.  Both of us, together.  Because we each knew that if she were pregnant, that fetus was a part of both of us--a gift that we weren't ready to have.  Agreeing to that final decision was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and the two week period starting from that decision to the time she finally started her cycle again were the hardest two weeks of my life, and made me a total emotional wreck.  It made me feel a weakness I haven't felt since.

    I thank the diarist for writing about this experience--because I know that if things had been only slightly different, it could have been me.

    And far too often, we see blanket statements on this site that men have no feelings on this, or don't care.  But many of us do.  There are things we can never experience--that's true.  But we grieve.

  •  In favor of birth control (none)
    I watched this interview on C-Span -- see my comment below the documentation in a recent e-mail to a sonographer.

    RE: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
    from June 5, 2005
    Steven Levitt applies the study of economics to everyday life in his new book, "Freakonomics." In the book, which he co-authored with Stephen Dubner, Mr. Levitt examines the violent crime rate, poverty, and parenting by the numbers
    ===
    My comment:

    The interesting thing about the interview was that in his research of statistics, Levitt discovered a pretty drastic drop in crime in the 1990s. He said he studied every possible connection -- even to the number of police hired for a region. He said hiring more policemen did not reduce crime, and having less policemen did not increase crime. He said the single factor that he could relate the drop in crime to was Roe vs Wade in 1973. He said that mose crime is committed by people who were unwanted children, and when abortion became legal, the number of unwanted children was reduced, thus reducing crime about 20 years later! Very interesting! That doesn't mean I favor abortion as birth control, but it sounds like some situations may call for it.

    •  oh eek (none)
      That is absolutely the wrong conclusion to draw from Levitt's study.  No, no, no, abortion is not birth control.  It's a tragedy to help solve mistakes.  Birth control is preventing pregnancies, not undoing them.

      What Levitt's study supports is the need to reduce the occurrence of unwanted pregnancies.  That can mean a variety of things:

      1. Helping humans learn more about how to connect conception with intent, and keep the body from becoming pregnant when the intent is to not get pregnant
      2. Increase birth control
      3. Increase funding of post-natal health care and other social services for young or unwed mothers, to reduce the barriers against having children and making pregnancies more "wantable"
      4. Heck, I'd even be in favor of more funding for pro-pregnancy counseling for women on the fence - if it were tied to #3 and weren't just guilt-trip religious-right wackiness.  (Not sure how to control for that.)

      That's all to say that is it very much possible to decrease the occurrence of "unwanted children", while also decreasing the need for abortion.

      Politology.US - Politics and Technology in the United States

      by tunesmith on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:41:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In favor of birth control (none)
        Thanks for your response, tunesmith. That is exactly what I said, but you explained it more thoroughly. I said I am NOT in favor of using abortion as birth control, but it appears that on occasion, an abortion is necessary.

        My subject heading says I am in favor of birth control, not abortion except in dire cases. I'm just sorry that there are groups who do not believe in birth control or family planning.

    •  Freakanomics (none)
      GREAT FUCKING BOOK.

      Can't recommend it highly enough. ESPECIALLY for parents.

      Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

      by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 06:31:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I also have to add a general comment (4.00)
    I really hate the picture the pro-life set paints of women who have abortions.  They make it seem like it's a routine thing, a thing that is approached without the slightest consideration of the consequences.  "Oh I'm pregnant.  I'll just have an abortion.  Lah-de-dah."

    I've never had one.  I had a very close girlfriend who did, though.  She was 16 at the time.  Had she decided to keep the baby, she would have done so without the slightest support from either the father or her family.  She would have been kicked out of her home, given no support, alone, and pregnant.  She had the abortion and I went with her.  To say that the choice she made was devastating to her and had deep, long-lasting impact on her life is an understatement.  To this day, even married and with four children she adores, she thinks about that first pregnancy and bears the guilt of the decision she had to make.  She agonizes, she beats herself up, she blames herself.  She lives with it - every minute of every day.  There was nothing easy or cavaliere about her decision.

    I'm tired of having these tough choices cast so flippantly by the other side when they can't presume to know the heart and mind of a woman faced with such a choice.

    The revolution is coming... and we ARE the revolution.

    by RenaRF on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 01:14:43 PM PDT

    •  Thank you (none)
      same here -- never had to have one (but had a miscarriage, when I didn't even know yet that I was pregnant . . . and we were saddened) but have friends who have, although older and on their own (divorced, separated, or single).

      Not a one made the wrong decision for her life, her family's lives, etc. . . but not a one wasn't very saddened or wishing that the birth control had worked.

      And not a one had a second one.

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 07:03:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  annecdotal information (4.00)
    What we seem to be doing here is trading annecdotal information. So I'll throw in mine.  I know a number of women who have had abortions.  According to
    The Alan Guttmacher Institute
    about 25% of all pregnancies are terminated by abortion.  So it's not surprising that I know a number of women who've had an abortion.  These women are not stupid or careless.  They did not fail to take reasonable advantage of the birth control options available to them.  They became pregnant in spite of having those options available to them.  They did not become pregnant because they were coerced into having sex.  They became pregnant from having sex they enjoyed.  They did not have abortions because they were in desperate financial need.  They had abortions because they did not want nine months of pregnancy that would have a negative impact on their health, or reduce the time and energy they had available for their existing children, or produce a genetically defective child, or otherwise have negative consequences for them or their families.  They do not seem particularly sad about having had an abortion, and I do not presume to wish for a different world in which they would have been "happy" to bring those particular pregnancies to term.

    I also know a number of women who have had natural miscarriages.  According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, one half to one third of all pregnancies end in natural miscarriage during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.  So it is not surprising that I know a number of women who have had miscarriages.  In some cases these women express sadness about their miscarriages, but in other cases they do not.  They are all aware that during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy the developing embryo/fetus has no capacity for sensation or awareness, that the brain has not yet come alive.  None of them expected medical intervention to preserve the potential life their bodies rejected.

    We seem to accept the fact that a woman's body often rejects a pregnancy.  Why is it so different
    when it's the woman's brain that decides to end the pregnancy?

    •  why it's different (3.75)
      OK, now I'm going to answer my own question (and we'll see if people still feel like giving me 4's).

      The reason it's different when a woman's brain decides to end the pregnancy is because it's a choice.  And some view it as a selfish choice.  While you may succeed in defending the legal right to make what is perceived as a selfish choice, you are never going to get the majority of American's to support the moral right of other people to make selfish choices.

      One problem with "a right to choose" is that it conflates legal right with moral right.  The two are different.  Another problem is that it treats all choices as equal.  I don't think all reproductive choices are equal.

      I believe that third-trimester "abortions of convenience" are selfish.  I also believe that the extreme right has been promoting the view that, unless we have restrictive laws, women will start waltzing into hospitals without understanding what they are doing (due to the incompetence brought on by 6 or 7 months of pregnancy?), and criminal doctors who want to destroy life rather than save it will take advantage of these women and deceive them into having an abortion. I'm not going to argue that this is impossible.  But I am going to argue that third-trimester "abortions of convenience" are at the least very rare - more rare, for example, than children drowning in swimming pools.  Yet far, far more energy has gone into preventing late-term abortions than preventing the drowning of children in swimming pools.  And the Republican party seems far more interested in abortion than in good healthcare for pregnant women and children  I question whether the motive is to discourage selfish behavior.

      I will not defend selfish behavior.  However, I will defend women who "choose" to have a late-term abortion because continued pregnancy poses a real risk to their life or their health.  I will defend women who "choose" to have the procedure known as "partial-birth abortion" because the fetus they are carrying is dead or dying.  I will defend doctors who train to perform such abortions and hospitals who admit patients in need of them.  I will further defend the right of those women, doctors, and hospitals to be free from the intrusion of a outside parties -- including government -- who claim a superior right to decide whether and when such abortions are necessary.  But I also will defend those who seek non-harmful ways to make third-trimester abortion rare.

      I also will defend the choice to have few or no children, and I will support and defend  those who work for a society in which individuals can make such choices without being considered unnatural or selfish.  Reproduction per se is not a social good.  If 90% of the world's population were to perish in some catastophe, I might change this view.  However, I prefer to focus on actions that will prevent such a catastrophe rather than thinking about what life would be like in its aftermath.

      I will defend and support those who work for a world in which every child is born to a family that wants that child and that can properly support and cherish that child.  I will defend birth control as a positive social good. I also will defend those who point out that birth control cannot and will not eliminate all unwanted pregnancy, and that to pretend otherwise is irresponsible.

      I consider the early termination of pregnancy, whether by natural or induced abortion, to be the ending of a potential human life that has not yet achieved the capacity for awareness or the capability for independent existence.  I believe that this constitutes no harm to the pre-aware organism.  In some cases, it may result in harm to other parties.  For this reason, I support measures that can convincingly be shown to reduce such harm without causing some greater harm.  An example of such a measure might be a program to improve prenatal healthcare.

      I believe the use of first-trimester abortion to end an unwanted pregnancy is not only a responsible choice but in many cases the best choice.  Thus I believe making first-trimester abortion safe, legal, and available is a positive sodial good.  

      I understand that some disagree with this based on a deeply held belief that life is sacred from the point of conception onward.  I defend the right of those who believe this to use free speech to inform and convince others.  However, I do not defend the right on anyone, including and especially those acting in an official governmental capacity, to deliberately provide false or misleading information.

      I would also ask those who believe that life is sacred and those who believe that abortion is selfish to take a look at the larger agenda of those who are using abortion as a wedge issue.  Look at the agenda and tell me who supports a "culture of life."  Look at the agenda and tell me who's selfish.

      •  what s/he said (none)
        I think you've got it!  thanks for taking the time to write that.
      •  What the fuck is a... (3.75)
        THIRD TRIMESTER abortion of convenience? That is a TOTAL oxymoron.

        There is no such thing, first of all, as an unnecessary 3rd trim. abortion -- not legally, anyway.

        And the AGONY of a 3rd trim. abortion precludes any SEMBLANCE of "convenience."

        Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

        by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 06:32:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  communication (none)
          I think there is no daylight between us on the key issues.  I think we also both try to be careful about how we use language.  We may differ in our ideas about how to use language.  That's valid and worth discussing, but I hope we also keep sight of our areas of fundamental agreement.

          I want to be effective -- because the stakes are so very high.  In order to be effective, I think I have to work with people from where they are rather than where I'd like them to be.  There are folks out there who've become convinced that late-term abortions are a huge problem.  This is especially true for people from traditional religious backgounds with limited education.  I find I can be both effective and true to my values by saying something like this to these folks:

          "Look, no one likes late-term abortion.  Everyone wants to make it rare.  Look, if women were getting these abortions just as a matter of convenience, then I would say that is wrong.  But that isn't why they are getting these abortions.  They are getting them because it's medically necessary.  Do you know how painful this kind of abortion is? They don't knock you out bro.  So I gotta ask you this.  If a woman gets sick and she's going to get brain damage or have some kind or paralysis unless she gets an abortion, do you think it should be illegal for her to do that?  But do you know that in Texas the governor just signed a law that says she has to prove that she will suffer extreme and irreversible brain damage or paralysis before she's allowed to have an abortion?  And the people who passed that law know that it's not going to stand up in court.  In fact, they passed that law so it would be struck down by the courts so they can keep everyone riled up about abortion while they don't do a damned thing to actually keep keep women healthy or otherwise make those third-term abortions rare.  That's what's going on, and the only question is really whether people are going to keep falling for it."

          It's about communication.  Pax?

      •  Why not second trimester? (4.00)
        Do you understand that women cannot always know that they are pregnant (especially girls who are so irregular, sometimes for years) until past the third month?

        "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

        by Cream City on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 07:07:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  same basic logic (none)
          Based on what I know about fetal development, I think the same basic logic applies to first- and seond-trimester abortion.  However, I think people sometimes find that hard to understand when they see pictures of the developing fetus.  Also, in most cases first-trimester abortion is better for the health of the woman.  So, while I oppose placing any legal restrictions on second-trimester abortions, I support efforts to reduce them by such measures as educating young women about various aspects of pregnancy, including how to find out if you are pregnant.  A woman who knows that she is pregnant also is more likely to get good prenatal care in the event she chooses to bring the pregnancy to term.
          •  Agreed (none)
            on all counts -- as long as you thus are somewhat amending your post to recognize the need for second-semester abortion.

            Even older women who have been pregnant before, believe me, can miss what it is because of other conditions -- as I did.  As it happens, I was delighted (if only to find out that I did not have the condition my doctor thought I did, with the weird combination of symptoms, since some were from pregnancy!).  But it also taught me well, as I have seen many times since, how little is known of women's bodies, even by ob-gyns. . . .

            "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

            by Cream City on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:58:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  just a simple (4.00)
    heartfelt thankyou. I have tried to expres this very sentiment, but as a woman, I have been ignored often. I so appreciate your words.
  •  thank you (4.00)
    from a woman.

    You are a good man, even though you made me cry.  :-)

    Very, very good points and wonderful diary.

    "Our struggle is not with some monarch named George who inherited the crown. Although it often seems that way."

    by erinya on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:30:38 PM PDT

  •  How many of those men (none)
    sitting in that waiting room went out and voted for Bush.  

    Bush...because he's a man's man.  

    Bush...because he likes hanging out on the ranch and clearing brush.  

    Bush...because he's gonna lower my taxes.  

    Bush...because he's going to outlaw abortion.  Oh well, that won't bother me again.  I'd rather get a $300 tax break.

    HotFlashReport - Opinionated liberal views of the wrongs of the right

    by annrose on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:38:48 PM PDT

  •  Recommended (4.00)
    Largely for this paragraph:

    I still remember the image of my wife lying there in the recovery room crying, surrounded by women crying alone. No other man came into the room that day, at least not while we were there. I remember thinking, "Who are these women, and why are they all alone right now?"

    The less a man knows about how sausages and laws are made, the easier it is to steal his vote and give him botulism.

    by SensibleShoes on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 02:47:26 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this diary. (none)
    About one of our points:

    Many women see having a child as an impediment to having a career. How fucked up are we that a woman has to choose between work and children? What, only men can work and only women can stay home?

    Only women can have babies, which can require at least 2 months of recovery (not just from labor but from the sudden change in demands on the mother), and that is 2+ months that she can't work but her male coworkers can.  

    Also, the emotional attachment can be very strong.  I have never borne a child of my own, but I have a little brother that I feel like a mother to sometimes.  It consumes your whole being; a childless woman might think about new ways to do something at work when she has some extra time, but a mother will most likely be thinking about her children and will have far less spare time anyway.  In such a competitive environment as American workplaces, this puts her at a severe disadvantage.

    So it isn't just outside pressures, but our own personal bodies and desires that influence this as well.

    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt

    by tryptamine on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:15:43 PM PDT

  •  I wonder would it help the workplace.. (4.00)
    to become less male centric.  Why is it that children are so unwelcome in the workplace?  I know in many workplaces it is a safety issue but childcare in an office should be a mandatory requirement.  And I don't mean a separate building a 20-minute walk from where you work.

    Would that reduce abortion rates if jobs didn't conflict with parenthood?

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 03:20:01 PM PDT

    •  The Global Baby Bust (4.00)
      Foreign Affairs has left this archived article open to the public, The Global Baby Bust.
      Excerpts:

      Some biologists now speculate that modern humans have created an environment in which the "fittest," or most successful, individuals are those who have few, if any, children. As more and more people find themselves living under urban conditions in which children no longer provide economic benefit to their parents, but rather are costly impediments to material success, people who are well adapted to this new environment will tend not to reproduce themselves. And many others who are not so successful will imitate them.

      To change this pattern, secular societies need to rethink how they go about educating young adults and integrating them into the work force, so that tensions between work and family are reduced. Education should be a lifetime pursuit, rather than crammed into one's prime reproductive years. There should also be many more opportunities for part-time and flex-time employment, and such work should offer full health and pension benefits, as well as meaningful career paths.

      •  The solution to this problem... (4.00)
        ...was proposed decades ago by, as I recall, European feminists (Italian, as I recall, though probably not the only ones) who proposed that people who do the socially critical job of raising children, even their own, be paid, at government expense, a wage commensurate with the time demands and social importance of their work.

        Admittedly, its an idea that modern American feminism -- which is more likely to reject roles traditionally done by women as unworthy than to seek to have them recognized and accepted as valuable for all -- would probably not get behind, and between that and the response of American conservatives, it would never happen here. But, still, I don't see raising your own children shouldn't be as valid a career choice as, say, collecting taxes. Done well, it has immense social utility.

    •  You bet your ASS it would. (4.00)
      Maybe in a couple DECADES we'll catch up with the European countries who go out of their way to AVOID penalizing women for becoming mothers.

      Like the ones who actually pay you when you have a child, thus lessening the undue financial burden of lost work time.

      Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

      by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 06:34:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know about you, but... (none)
      I sure don't want a whining brat giving me a headache all day while I'm trying to get work done.
    •  I'm all for family-friendly workplaces (none)
      with flexible hours, time-sharing, etc. . . .

      And I love my children.

      But -- no thanks.  I'm in a workplace now with a sensitive new-age guy boss who has allowed a woman down the hall to have a playpen in her offices -- shared with others, thank heavens not me, but their space is seriously cramped -- and another to bring a baby to meetings and events . . . and these kids are not the quiet, sleep-all-the-time kind.  Sometimes these events have speakers who have come a long way, for a fairly good sum of money, and others have given time and effort to get there to hear them.  And as someone who does public speaking, even a brief interruption can throw you off track.

      And my workplace does have a day care center five minutes away in another building, built for the purpose, for safety, etc.  And these mothers have flexible hours, as do their husbands. . . .

      Frankly, as one who has been there, I wouldn't want to have brought my children into a place filled with a lot of people, as ours are, stopping by, passing by, etc. -- a population full of colds, mono, etc. . . .

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 07:16:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have been in a similar situation (4.00)
    Where on two occasions, my girlfriend became pregnant. I actually had a medical problems which would make it difficult to get a person pregnant (varicocele...warm blood from a varicose vein raises the temperature and kills sperm) and I even had corrective surgery. Even though I had this surgery because I eventually wanted a family, and told my girlfriend that if she wanted to have the child, we would have the child and raise a family, married if she wanted or not.

    I told her that I would support whatever decision she wanted, because  even tohugh there are two people involved in any pregnancy, it is the woman who must bear the risk to life and health, and any consequences dealing with bosses who do not want pregnant women working for them or those who would foist their own ideas of right and wrong on a person who is pregnant and not married.

    Even though I wanted a family eventually, and at this point in life, am really too old to start one, I still do not regret my choices, or hers, as to be honest, the major problems involved with pregnancy fall totally on the woman, while after the child is born, only then are both parties effected.

  •  how effective is contraception? (4.00)
    I do not know if there is yet reliable data on the newest forms birth control such as Depo Provera injection, hormonal implants, and the vaginal hormonal ring.  Among the methods that have been around for a while, the most effective forms of reversible birth control are (1) birth control pills and (2) condom + foam.  When these methods are used correctly and consistently, the lowest observed rate of unintended pregnancy is 2% per year.  That translates into a 20% chance of pregnancy over a 10 year period.  Failure to use the method correctly, such as failing to put on a condom correctly, increases the failure rate.  The actual rate of unintended pregnancy for those using the pill is about 8% per year.  That translates into an 80% chance of pregnancy over a 10 year period.

    Hormonal contraceptives (i.e. pill, patch, implant, or ring) are contraindicated for women with certain medical problems or risk profiles.  The next most effective form of birth control is the IUD, which some consider a form of abortion.  The lowest observed rate of unintended pregnancy for this method is 4% per year.  The rate for a diaphram is 10% per year.   The rate for a cervical cap is 13%.  The rate for foam, creams, jellies, and suppositories is 15%.  Remember, these are the rates when the methods are used correctly and consistently.  The rates are higher if someone, including a doctor prescribing the method, makes a mistake.

    •  Probability (none)
      The actual rate of unintended pregnancy for those using the pill is about 8% per year.  That translates into an 80% chance of pregnancy over a 10 year period.

      Actually it's a 56.6% chance:
      1-(0.92^10)=.5656
      (approximately)

      •  lies, damned lies, and statistics (none)
        I was describing population probabilities rather than individual probabilities.  Medical data of this type typically describes population probabilities.  In reading my post, I realize that it could be taken as a statement concerning individual probabilities.  It is not.  In writing the post, my goal was to convey the reality that the contraceptive methods currently available to most women are not going to eliminate unwanted pregnancy.  I realize now that my post could be interpreted as saying that each woman taking birth control pills has an 80% chance of getting pregnant over the course of 10 years.  That is not true.  It is true, however, that a large population of women taking birth control pills will produce approximately 80 pregnancies per 100 women over a 10 year period.  (Note:  This is based on the assumption that each year constitutes what statisticians call an "independent event."  Clearly this is not true at the individual level, but the assumption provides a good approximation at the population level.)  However, I think it is misleading to characterize this as "an 80% chance."  I apologize for my carelessness and thank you for bringing it to my attention.

        For those wishing to understand the difference between population probability and individual probability may find it helpful to consider the following example:  You have a large population of coins.  You flip every coin in that population, and you end up with about 8% heads.  You flip the coins again, and you end up with about 8% heads.  You do this 8 more times, and each time you come up with about 8% heads.  Over the course of your 10 flips, you have seen approximately 80 heads for every 100 coins in your population.  

        Now let's take out an individual coin.  We don't know what the probability of heads is for this individual coin.  In fact, for medical data of the type I've cited, the relationship between population probability and individual probability is not straightforward.  For tort litigation, methods such as Bayesian analysis are sometimes used to get from population risk to individual risk.  But suppose we make the simplifying assumptions that each coin in the population has an 8% probability of coming up heads and that each flip of the coin is an independent event.  Now we take one of those coins and we flip it 10 times.  Using the binomial formula, we can calculate the probability that heads will come up in one or more of our 10 flips to be .05656 (approximately).

        So if you are a woman taking birth control pills, should you assume that you have a 56% risk of unintended pregnancy over the next 10 years?  If you have no other information, that's the way to bet.  However, there is other information available.  If you use birth control pills correctly and consistently, your risk will be much lower - unless, of course, you are one of those women for whom birth control pills do not work.  That's the thing about individual risk, we usually don't know what the odds really are.  However, we do know what the odds are for populations.  We also can do things to change the odds for populations.  Through better education, we can reduce the incidence of contraceptive failure.  But even with education and contraception, we are going to have unwanted pregnancy.  So what do we do about it?  Do we insist that anytime a woman has sex she must be willing to accept full-term pregnancy and motherhood as a possible consequence, or is she going to have other options?

  •  I Am a Childless 48 Year Old Male (4.00)
    I had a similar experience in the waiting room of an abortion clinic almost 30 years ago. The woman was 20 years old. The pregnancy was not caused by me, but she was my ex-girlfriend, and this was her second abortion, and the first was because of me, and I couldn't be there at the time, because it coincided with my first semester final exams my freshman year of college.

    Yeah, I felt damned guilty. So I made sure to give her moral and financial support the second time around, since she couldn't tell her mother, since she swore to her mother it would never happen a second time. I paid for the second abortion myself, especially since I was broke on the first one. And she was still a good friend, after all we'd been through, and beyond that, a decent human being who needed help.

    Sometimes I think about that aborted pregnancy. As it turns out, it was the only time I ever came close to being a father. And i love kids! And I hav no regrets, except that I couldn' do right by my girlfirend the first time she got into trouble.

    Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party - DNC Chair Howard Dean

    by easong on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 05:42:09 PM PDT

  •  Incredible (4.00)
    I have avoided this diary all day because I "assumed " that a male could not possibly have a credible opinion, and I didn't want to listen to what I "assumed" would be your bullshit opinion.  As a woman who has had two abortions without the male being present, I apologize for my judging you without knowing the facts.  
  •  Beautiful diary (4.00)
    I can only hope that I am the man that you were if I am ever put in that situation.  I would like to believe that I am, but you never know when the chips are down.
  •  There are so many reasons I commend you (4.00)
    1. you didn't say to your loved one "its your problem and you fix it", you supported her in going through one of the toughest decisions we can make.

    2. you noticed that other women were not supported and you understood that was not right.  Seeing that and understanding that is highly commendable.

    3. you understand the need that we sometimes have to face facts - we are not ready for some life changes and something has to give sometimes.  And we need that ability to back out of a tremendous life change when pregnancy occurs, not just because it might be inconvenient but because there are better times when pregnancy can come to a joyous end.

    All pregnancies are different.  All abortions have their own unique story and it is not up to any of us to judge.  

    I am a grandma.  What I want most in this world is for every child to be wanted and for the world to be ready for that child.  What we have now is a travesty.  Education is so lacking as to be pathetic.  Medical support is lacking.  Mental health support is lacking.  Why in the world are we listening to people say "too much is spent on education"  when so little of what we need to do in life is presented to us within that educational process.

  •  This (none)
    Is an extraordinary diary.  I was moved to tears reading it.  Thank you for writing it.

    My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

    by shanikka on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:23:24 PM PDT

  •  Couple Questions... (none)
    Can anyone help me get edumacated on a few things?

    1. What are the competing arguments about when  life begins? I'm sure there are many, but are there say... 3-5 that are argued the most?

    2. What are people's opinions on the  moment of birth? Can a mother decide then to have an abortion and terminate the pregnancy? I guess if not, then how far do we backtrack before we're comfortable? Is it a first tri-mester thing? Or is that too conservative... I can look all this up, but maybe people want to discuss it and inform each other?

    "...an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"

    King Lear

    by Norwell on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 09:58:55 PM PDT

  •  Contraceptive Failure and Life Choices (none)
    I had an abusive enough childhood that when a friend of mine was unhappy after having a miscarriage, I was genuinely perplexed. The idea that someone might really want to have a child and start a family had never crossed my mind.
    Since I was using an IUD, missing a period did not set off the alarm bells it should have. First year of graduate school and starting therapy led to a decision in favor of abortion and of a new form of birth control.
    Years later, same partner, different contaceptive failure and I was in a high pressure job. Pursuit of a scientific career, as Larry Summers just reminded everyone, is not suited to the feminine role. I choose to have another abortion. A child would have derailed my ambition. As things turned out, that might have been all for the best.
  •  Thank you for a truly thought provoking diary (none)
    I am impressed by how deeply you have contemplated the issue of a man's relationship to choice. It has always been a conundrum, no matter how many blithe cliches have been cast on both sides of the issue.

    Your depth of feeling coupled with your understanding makes your experience all the more poignant. You are a real mensch! Your wife is truly blessed.

    Reading some of the other comments about your presence at the clinic was disturbing. It is unfortunate that after more than 30 years there is still this institutionalized shame to abortion, something that, if I were to judge just from the comments here, is far worse now than it was in the late 70s when I had my abortions and when my college roommate and I ran an "underground" referral service for women at a Catholic college.

    Back then, men were certainly allowed in most of the clinics I attended with friends and other women from my college. Most recovery rooms were out of bounds though, since most were open rooms with no privacy. But one of our favorite clinics for referral -- mostly since the clinical staff was the most professional and caring -- allowed one person accompanying the woman, if she desired it, into the recovery room where sound absorbent screening and curtains provided a great degree of privacy.

    But that was before the targeting of clinics by the sanctimonious "Right-to-Lifers" and others. However, it dismays me that the shame has been perpetuated and, perhaps, exacerbated by well-intentioned but short-sighted defenders of choice. I sincerely hope that there are inexpensive alternatives to this type of clinic environment.

    Since my daughter is now approaching puberty, I worry when I hear stories that make it sound like abortions are being shoved back into the "Back room" by misplaced shame.

    "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

    by Glinda on Wed Jun 15, 2005 at 08:36:59 AM PDT

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